It has always been somewhat of a challenge for naval commanders to protect moored ships from terrorists, at least in the last decade. But now it seems that this problem may be over. According to a report today in The Daily Mail, a cool, robotic jet ski – known as the Blackfish Craft – has been created by scientists which can “see underwater and travel at speeds of up to 40 mph.”
This robot measures 10ft and uses a remote-control from a distance of up to 1 km. As well, it can be set to pre-programmed routes. If need be, it can “prevent a suicide attack similar to Al-Qaeda’s 2000 offensive on the U.S.S. Cole while it was docked in Yemen, an assault that claimed 17 lives.”
The problem has always been the vulnerability of navy ships to small boats and swimmers. This is exactly what the scientists at British defense contractor QinetiQ hope the Blackfish will be able to protect. According to a spokesman for QinetiQ North America, Mark Hewitt, “in both domestic and foreign ports, there’s great concern about swimmers approaching the boats underwater. The Navy has been working on the problem for some time.”
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The Blackfish was built by engineers removing the top half of the jet ski and giving it a video camera, surface radar, underwater sonar and later on maybe some weapons. It is extremely fast, powered by a hydro-jet (rather than a propeller) so it’s unlikely that a collision with an innocent swimmer will occur. What is really great about it is its pre-programmed patrol routes that are based on a GPS navigation system.