Marine

Ghost marine platform takes a dive with unmanned submersible Guardian

JMS has unveiled the Guardian, a submersible unmanned version of its drag-reducing Ghost marine platform
JMS has unveiled the Guardian, a submersible unmanned version of its drag-reducing Ghost marine platform
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JMS has unveiled the Guardian, a submersible unmanned version of its drag-reducing Ghost marine platform
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JMS has unveiled the Guardian, a submersible unmanned version of its drag-reducing Ghost marine platform

A few years ago, Juliet Marine Systems (JMS) unveiled the Ghost, an angular boat that could actively reduce drag in the water by creating a bubble of gas around its two foils. Now the company has announced plans for the Guardian, a submersible version of the craft designed for both manned and unmanned military operations, on or below the surface.

Like its predecessor, the Guardian's active drag reduction system is based on the principle of supercavitation, where friction is lessened by the craft creating a bubble of air around itself. That in turn allows it a better top speed without using more fuel, and JMS says that at it's fastest – which is when it's traveling on the surface with four feet (1.2 m) between the waterline and the keel – the Guardian can hit 35 knots (65 km/h, 40 mph).

There's no word on its top speed when the craft is fully submerged, or how well the supercavitation works then, but JMS believes the option opens up more possibilities for the Guardian than the Ghost, aided by the fact that it can operate without the three-person crew of the previous model.

"We believe Guardian is the first surface vessel that is a fully submersible Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) and one that will meet or exceed the USV mission needs of navies around the world at relatively low cost," says Gregory Sancoff, President and CEO of JMS. "We expect it to transform the way navies fulfill their operational requirements in maritime technology and provide greater capacity in littoral operations, with a host of multi-mission capabilities encompassing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); mine hunting; and anti-swarm, short-range firepower. There is no other platform like this in the world."

Measuring between 30 and 45 ft (9.1 and 13.7 m) long, the Guardian will run on a diesel powertrain with a hybrid electric drive. While none have been produced so far, JMS estimates construction would take between 18 and 24 months, and the craft will be standardized for easy maintenance and can be customized according to the needs of the customer.

Source: Juliet Marine Systems

5 comments
myale
If it is using cavitation - would it not be highly visible to underwater detection systems making it an easy target?
ezeflyer
How fast will it go when it picks up seaweed, fishing lines, nets and other flotsam?
CharlieSeattle
Hardly a silent caterpillar drive of "Hunt For Red October" lore!
riczero-b
The trouble with bubbles is that you run out of gas to bubble with. The (presumably successful) torpedoes such as the Skval seem to use pyrotechnics for this, but that only delivers for minutes at most. So a fully submerged ship would likely only have Sprint ability, not sustained.
DaleBarclay
Use electrolysis to create Hydrogen and Oxygen on board the sub and then pump the gases back into the water to aid in the cavitation. Subs already create oxygen while submerged using electrolysis. The oxygen is kept on board and the hydrogen is pumped overboard. The catapiller drive combined with this would make a very stealthy sub. Travel faster with less power and less noise.
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