Joe Biden is about to inherit a diverse portfolio of defense innovations funded by his predecessor. One of the most ambitious initiatives is the Navy’s effort to develop unmanned surface warships and submersibles capable of supporting the manned fleet in wartime. For instance, Boeing has a contract to deliver five robotic submarines capable of executive diverse missions with its modular payloads, from mine countermeasures to anti-submarine warfare to tactical reconnaissance. Sea Hunter, an unmanned surface vessel, is a testbed for experimenting with the use of robotic warships that can remain at sea untended for weeks, traversing many thousands of miles. Nobody in the Navy thinks such vessels can replace aircraft carriers or manned submarines, but they nonetheless could make the difference between victory and defeat in a future war for control of the Western Pacific. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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