November 22, 2011

Unmanned Submarines

How this technology works and what it might be doing soon.

Adriana: This could be the newest — and wettest — weapon in the war against drugs and terrorism. An 18-foot long unmanned submarine that can patrol waters as deep as ten thousand feet where, believe it or not, illegal drug trafficking can take place. The sub can also be used to survey the country’s borders down below.

“From a military perspective this can take the place of full size manned submarine, doing the dirty the dangerous work.”

Adriana: Just like unmanned military drones that patrol the skies of Afghanistan, the sub, named Echo Ranger, can inspect dangerous territory without risking the life of an operator.

The military has been working on a submarine like the Echo Ranger for forty years, testing different versions out of the public eye on an island 26 miles from California. But the Echo Ranger hasn’t started a military career quite yet. It was created in 2002 to help oil companies map the ocean floor. And after being put in storage, this year it was dusted off to be tested for other uses.

Beyond patroling the depths of the ocean for the government, scientists say it could also be used for environmental purposes, like sampling sea water for pollution.

At the Wrigely Marine Institute, scientists are now developing ways for Echo Ranger to communicate and power it for extended missions. The unmanned sub is seen as the pioneer of under water exploration.

“We know more about life in the solar system than we know about life under the ocean and subs are starting to open that vista for us.”

Adriana: And close down the newest path for drug runners who are smuggling drugs aboard homemade subs.

“Something like Echo Ranger set up a picket fence to and just keep going back to listen to noise in the water to listen for another submarine.”

Adriana: While this little yellow sub has a big future. It is still two to five years away from diving into the depths on its first real mission.

Adriana Diaz, Channel One News.


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