It used to be that shipping was most under threat on the high seas. But now, as authorities warn, terrorists are targeting vessels in port or close to shore. Which is exactly why BAE Systems have launched a tiny, unmanned autonomous submarine to detect and deal with such threats: the Talisman L weighs only 50kg, has a top speed of 5 knots, and can patrol at depths of up to 100 metres for up to 12 hours.

The Talisman L is very maneuverable - able to turn within its own length - and keeps on the alert with high definition sonars on the front and sides as well as a host of multi-view cameras.

Compact enough to be deployed from almost any vehicle, including rigid rubber duckies, the Talisman L can be controlled with either a remote console or integrated into the command ship’s combat management system. It can operate completely independently, using pre-set parameters, or an operator can assume manual control at any time.

The one thing that BAE Systems is a little mysterious about is exactly what the Talisman does when it finds a threat. They refer to it enabling “a fully integrated approach to Mine Counter Measures to be undertaken, from detection through to neutralization,” but details are scarce on the “neutralization” part.