One of the biggest concerns of those people responsible for the security of our country is the openness of our harbors and ports. Sure we have the Coast Guard and harbor police forces to do the job but the reality is that they can only cover so much territory with what is really pretty limited resources.
Well the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), along with defense contractor QinetiQ, have developed a possible answer to the problem. Taking a page from the flying drone book they have developed a robotic jet-ski called “Blackfish” that is designed to patrol harbors an search for underwater intruders.
“Blackfish is ideally suited for port and harbor security, and in particular for swimmer detection and the detection of other threats near critical assets,” Jennifer Pickett, Director of Communications for QinetiQ, told Gizmag. “Beyond port and harbor security, there are several other missions that could be applicable for Blackfish, including Coast Guard missions, immigration/border protection, shoreline protection, and surveillance for piracy, smuggling and other illegal maritime activities.”
The 10-foot (3 m) long military-use unmanned jet-ski is equipped with underwater sonar, radar and surface and underwater cameras to monitor waterways and detect potentially dangerous threats. Blackfish can operate within a 1 km radius of the controller and its GPS can be programmed for automatic patrolling.
Besides being outfitted with just sensors Blackfish can also be outfitted with weapons which open it up for other potential uses.