The Defense Department plans to invest up to $3 billion in funds in an effort to build and field unmanned underwater vehicles designed to perform surveillance operations, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, head of the Office of Naval Research, said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies-hosted conference that ONR plans to develop an “Eisenhower highway network” of UUVs that will work to map the ocean floor and “go out for decades at a time.”
Christian Davenport writes the U.S. Navy also plans to establish underwater stations designed to allow undersea drones to recharge.
Frank Herr, head of the ONR’s ocean battlespace sensing department, told the publication that such undersea communication and energy outposts will serve as a “place where you can gas up or charge your underwater vehicles, transfer data and maybe store some data.”
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency also plans to place 15-foot-tall underwater pods designed to detect signals and deploy aerial drones to perform surveillance missions, according to the report.