The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has revealed the development of a new type of unmanned surface vessel (USV), which will be used to improve the country’s maritime security and homeland defence capabilities.
RSN is set to deploy the unmanned ships to patrol the Singapore Strait, as well as detect and neutralise mines on the seabed to ensure that the country’s shipping lanes are safe for navigation, according to the Singapore Ministry of Defence.
A total of three types of autonomous surface vessel is currently being developed as part of the initiative, namely the Coastal Defence USV, the Mine Countermeasure USV with towed synthetic aperture sonar (TSAS) and the Mine Countermeasure USV with expendable mine disposal system.
The Coastal Defence USV is being built to carry out coastal patrol operations, while the Mine Countermeasure USV with TSAS is intended to help detect underwater mines on the seabed.
The Mine Countermeasure USV with mine disposal system will be used for mine disposal activities.
RSN’s latest USVs are designed for high-speed operations and manoeuvrability.
In addition, they will feature a built-in collision detection and collision avoidance system in order to enable them to navigate safely and operate autonomously in proximity with other vessels.
The USVs’ integrated command and control systems will enable the Operator Control Station, located ashore or on-board platforms at sea, to control the movement and payload of the unmanned vessels with minimal manpower.
Furthermore, the USVs are slated to be equipped with advanced sensors and software, making them capable of carrying out their operations at a much lower cost than current models.
The technology will also allow the manned vessels to be deployed at further ranges from Singapore and for more complex missions.
Each of the three types of USV is approximately 16m in length, has a displacement of approximately 30t, an endurance of 36 hours and a top speed of 25k.