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DARPA starts speed testing its submarine-hunting drone ship

Open-water tests will follow this summer.

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DARPA's 130-foot unmanned ship is almost ready to take on rogue submarines. Its christening isn't slated to take place until April 7th, but it's now in the water near its construction site in Portland, Oregon -- the agency has even begun conducting speed tests. The drone called ACTUV or Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel has successfully reached the top speed its creators were expecting (31mph) during the preliminary tests. It was, however, designed to do much more than traverse the oceans at 31mph. ACTUV has the capability to use long/short-range sonar to detect foreign submarines, even stealthy diesel electric ones that don't make noise.

It can then follow those submarines around in an effort to spook out their operators and drive them out. If needed, the vessel can also deliver supplies and be sent on reconnaissance missions with absolutely no human on board. Before it can do the tasks it was made for, though, it still has to undergo open-water testing in California sometime this summer.

You can watch ACTUV's launch and first tests in Portland below:

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