Every now and then, the The US Navy comes up with something that proves it’s made up of really, really smart 12-year-olds. The most recent one is robotic drone that looks a lot like a shark. Nicknamed GhostSwimmer, it’s around six feet long and weighs in at close to 100 pounds.
According to reports, Boston Engineering began working on the prototype back in 2008. They called it an “Autonomous Blue Tuna.” Then, though, it looked a little different. It was a variation of the rigid torpedo drones that are common today, only the flexibility made it much harder to spot on sonar, because it moved like a fish.
Last year sometime, the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research moved the project into their Rapid Innovation Cell, a department of the Warfare Development Command that deals with new concepts and innovation in things that help other things blow things up. They’ve renamed it Project Silent Nemo, which sounds much cuter than it looks.
So far, the robot shark has cost around $1 million dollars to develop. It’s currently controlled by a joystick and a giggling Navy guy pretending to be really serious about piloting his childhood fantasy. It’s attached to a 1500 foot tether, and can dive to around 300 feet. And while it’s not weaponized just yet, Captain Jim Loper, head of the concepts and innovation department at the Navy Warfare Development Command in Norfolk, Virginia, had one thing to say: “Let your imagination run wild.” Here’s hoping that sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads becomes a reality.