Boeing unveils game-changing autonomous submarine

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The unmanned Boeing Echo Voyager can remain at sea for months, without any need for a ...

The unmanned Boeing Echo Voyager can remain at sea for months, without any need for a surface support ship (Credit: Boeing) View gallery (2 images)

When you hear the name "Boeing," chances are you think of aircraft. The fact is, however, the company has also been developing underwater vehicles since the 1960s. Its latest such creation, the Echo Voyager, is designed to operate autonomously for months at a time.

The 51-foot (15.5-m)-long Voyager joins two other Boeing unmanned undersea vehicles, or UUVs: the 32-ft (9.8-m) Echo Seeker and the 18-ft (5.5-m) Echo Ranger.

Like them, it's designed to autonomously gather data underwater for scientific, military or other purposes. Unlike them, though, it's not limited to missions lasting no longer than two to three days. Instead, thanks to what's simply described as a "hybrid rechargeable power system," it can keep going for months if necessary.

Additionally, it doesn't need to be launched and retrieved by a surface support vessel. This means it could depart from and return to shore-based facilities, saving the cost of crewing and operating an accompanying ship. If required, it can automatically rise to the surface at regular intervals, where it will raise a folding antenna to transmit data to its users.

Sea trials of the Echo Voyager are planned to take place off the coast of California this summer. More information is available in the following video.

Source: Boeing

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