Washington: The United States is evaluating maritime surveillance technology in support of Coast Guard efforts to protect its maritime borders and commercially navigable waterways, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a press release.
“DHS S&T [Science and Technology] teamed up with the Coast Guard, University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State, Ocean Aero, Inc., Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs (CNSP), and the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute (HSSEDI), to develop, acquire, evaluate, and test specialized, environmentally powered (wind and solar), multi-mission capable, unmanned surface and underwater vessels,” the release said on Wednesday.
The evaluation team initiated acceptance testing of six unmanned vessels at USM’s Marine Research Center (MRC) at the Port of Gulfport. They will utilize MRC’s specialized lab facilities and waterfront access to evaluate the vessels capabilities in multiple areas, including navigation; surface, diving, and subsurface operations, the release said.
The vessels are capable of operating effectively for long periods of time using only wind and solar power. They provide a platform for cameras and advanced sensors to detect relevant anomalies and threats, the release added.
The effort aims to support the US Coast Guard’s mission of protecting the more than 95,000 miles of maritime border shoreline and 15,000 miles of waterways, seaports, and other commercially navigable waters, according to the release.