Fresh off finishing campaign mode in Black Ops II, I’m somewhat Military Minded right Now!! Between tankers and cruise ships, Safe sea travel & transportation is a crucial part of our society. Cruise liners run the risk of innocent casualties; Oil tankers run the risk of explosions and pollution. These Knifefish Drones will give us the comfort of knowing we are traveling safely with eyes above and below sea level.
The Navy has now set its sights on the Knifefish, named for the freshwater fish that images objects using electric fields. At 19 feet (5.8m) and 1700 pounds (770kg), the torpedo-shaped drone is much larger than the Seafox and will greatly extend its capabilities. It is powered by lithium-ion batteries and can remain active for up to 16 hours, giving it a much longer range. It also uses a low-frequency synthetic aperture sonar that can penetrate beneath a soft sea floor. The Knifefish will be able to tell actual mines from other submerged debris with better accuracy. Mines will be able to be fingerprinted in real time by using resonance patterns obtained during imaging and comparing them to known signatures. Eight units will be jointly built by General Dynamics and Bluefin Robotics, at a total cost of $20 million. Naval divers will still carry out many mine clearing operations themselves, but drones will reduce dive frequency and associated risk.