Last February, NEWSREP reported on the U.S. Navy taking delivery on its latest piece of futuristic sub-hunting technology, a DARPA-developed 132-foot, 140-ton drone warship, purpose-built to hunt down encroaching enemy submarines. Now, almost a year later, the status of the Sea Hunter Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, or ACTUV, has just been listed as “classified.”
Technically classified as a “medium displacement unmanned surface vehicle,” the ACTUV (or Sea Hunter, as many have taken to calling it) is the first ship of its sort: a full-sized warship purpose-built to hunt submarines with no crew on-board. It was first tested outside of Pearl Harbor while still under the administrative auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, but for the most part, the U.S. Navy has remained tight-lipped about the unusual vessel’s combat capabilities.
In fact, little in the way of information pertaining to the Sea Hunter has made it out of the Department of the Navy since last year’s announcement that the program had traded hands from DARPA to the Office of Naval Research for further development. Recently, defense publication National Defense reached out to the Navy’s research arm to ask questions about the program, only to have its efforts curtailed by the news that the program had recently been given a classified designation, barring anyone involved with the program from discussing it with the public.