Sharktech 38 Defiant is a new autonomous vessel being designed and developed by Metal Shark. Credit: Metal Shark.
The autonomous vessel was exhibited at the Multi Agency Craft Conference (MACC) held in Baltimore, Maryland, US, in July 2018. Credit: Metal Shark.
Sharktech 38 Defiant can travel at a maximum speed of 50k. Credit: Metal Shark.

The Sharktech 38 Defiant autonomous vessel is being developed by Metal Shark in association with autonomous vessel technology services provider ASV Global.

The autonomous boat is equipped with Sharktech advanced autonomous vessel technology, which is also being implemented on other Metal Shark vessels to transform them into autonomous platforms.

A Metal Shark 38 Defiant vessel with Sharktech technology was tested at Metal Shark’s headquarters in Jeanerette, Louisiana, US, in July 2018.

Metal Shark successfully demonstrated the Sharktech 38 Defiant autonomous vessel at the Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MACC) held in Baltimore, Maryland, in July 2018.

The vessel can be configured to perform defence, military, fire rescue, disaster management and law enforcement missions. It can also be customised for commercial applications.

Sharktech 38 Defiant autonomous vessel design and features

The hull and superstructure of the vessel are made of premium-grade aluminium. Its pilothouse is fitted with large windows, aft doors, overhead skylights, and large opening side and stern doors. The on-board window defrosters and wipers enhance visibility from the pilothouse when operating in harsh weather conditions.

A protection bar is fitted over the engine to protect it from outside shocks. The vessel further features a full bow rail structure and starboard dive reliefs. Dedicated ports and mounts are provided to house electronic pods and equipment.

The Sharktech 38 Defiant vessel can be operated both manually and autonomously. It can seamlessly switch between conventional and autonomous modes using its advanced technology. The autonomous mode highly reduces the use of on-board crew as well as offering enhanced operational efficiency and greater reliability.

The vessel can also carry Planck AeroSystems’s Shearwater aerial drone, which can be launched autonomously from the vessel and controlled through an integrated navigation and guidance system.

The vessel has an overall length of 11.67m, beam of 3.65m and draught of 0.83m.

Payloads of Sharktech 38 Defiant

The ASView system on board the vessel enables operators to remotely control the electronic equipment, such as lights, pumps, sirens and hailers. The system can integrate 40 different military and commercial payloads, including firefighting equipment, fire pumps, monitors, acoustic equipment, hydrographic survey tools and on-board cameras.

The Sharktech 38 Defiant is equipped with an on-board digital control system, which leverages dynamic collision avoidance technology to enhance the situational awareness of the vessel and avoid possible collisions. It collects data from radars, on-board cameras and an automatic identification system (AIS) to identify and differentiate static and moving obstacles.

Control station

The operations of the Sharktech vessel can be monitored from a mother ship or a shore-based ground control station. The vessel will be connected to the mother ship through a radio link while a satellite link will enable data transmission to the control station.

The autonomous vessel will use its pre-programmed station-keeping feature to save backup data in the event of loss of communication between the vessel and mother ship. Other safety features of the vessel include geo-fence technology and emergency-stop buttons.

Propulsion and performance of Sharktech 38 Defiant

The autonomous vessel is compatible with three different engine configurations, including a twin diesel waterjet configuration, twin straight-shaft inboard configuration and triple outboard configuration.

Designed for patrol missions, the triple outboard configuration integrates three four-stroke Mercury Verado 300hp engines burning gasoline. The fully self-contained propulsion system is placed outside the vessel. The engines can be changed based on the operator requirements.

The maximum speed attained by the autonomous vessel is 50k.