The boat is 39 feet long and can reach a top speed of 28 knots. Using a modified version of the unmanned Shadow surveillance aircraft technology that logged 700,000 hours of duty in the Middle East, the boat can be controlled remotely from 10 to 12 miles away from a command station on land, at sea or in the air, Haslett said.

Farther out, it can be switched to a satellite control system, which Textron said could expand its range to 1,200 miles. The boat could be launched from virtually any large Navy vessel.

Using diesel fuel, the boat could operate for up to 72 hours without refueling, depending upon its traveling speed and the weight of equipment being carried. The fuel supply could be extended for up to a week on slow-moving reconnaissance missions. the boat could be operated in as little as 5 feet of water because of its shallow draft

The CUSV would be hard to sink by accident.

If the boat overturns, it shuts down its engines, rights itself, restarts the engines and resumes the mission. Should the boat lose contact with its command, it’s programmed simply to return to its launching point or another pre-determined location.

It’s not the first unmanned boat. But Haslett said others generally have been boats simply refitted with remote control equipment. The CUSV was designed from the first step not to have a crew.

Phys.Org Mobile: Unmanned vessel could soon be working for Navy.