Fighting Pirates with USVs
- Naval professionals are becoming increasingly comfortable with the use of unmanned maritime vehicles.
Modern maritime pirates have extended their range of attacks and improved their attack tactics. Destroyers and frigates are effective but too expensive to fight off a few men in flip-flops, a ladder, and rocket propelled grenades. They also cannot possibly cover the large expense of the growing pirates' territory.
Unmanned Maritime Systems - Defense & Security UUV & USV Markets, Technologies & Opportunities Outlook 2012 - 2020
UAVs are just starting to be used to spot, identify, scare pirates away, and prevent hostage situations. But what about USVs, the "latest" type of unmanned system? They could be launched from any yacht, ram into the assailing pirates' skiff, or be launched from a tanker to conduct armed operations against the pirates five miles away from the tanker.
They can, but they won't.
First, the international maritime laws & rules of engagement pose serious issues on the control, circumstances and use of weapons at sea. Second, weapons and inflammables don't get along well. Third, the launch and recovery of the USV can be problematic. Fourth, the expertise required to conduct a USV operation is out of reach for most commercial seafarers, and poses issues of liability, costs, training, etc.
So what is left?
USV offer a good tool to increase intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage when launched from a host naval ship. Naval professionals are becoming increasingly comfortable with the use of unmanned maritime vehicles. A host of non-lethal options are likely to be used until lethal weapons are an absolute necessity. The USV can be used to patrol an area on almost-persistent basis, enabling it to provide a quick response to an alert, hopefully before the pirates' boarding. Plus, the electronic data a USV can collect while on patrol can be of great help in the preparation and execution of a manned intervention at sea - and be later use for litigation. In face of the growing violence of the Eastern African pirates, it is reasonable to assume that they will gradually become more adept at carrying out night raids. USVs can and should be there to help mitigate such threats.
While USVs are not a panacea to modern piracy, they will gradually become part of the overall response to modern maritime piracy - in both defensive and offensive capacities.
To learn more about the Maritime Security and Unmanned Maritime Systems market, please visit: "Unmanned Maritime Systems ‐ Defense & Security UUV & USV Markets, Technologies & Opportunities Outlook 2012 ‐ 2020" on ASDReports.com (follow the link in this article)
Source : ASDReports - Market Research
Mar 11 - 13, 2014 - Bridgetown, Barbados