Surface Forces: Robotic Armored Speedboats Challenge Sailors


December 22, 2009: A British firm has developed an armored, robotic speedboat that sailors can use for target practice. This enables sailors to learn how to aim their heavy machine-guns and small arms accurately enough to take down hostile speedboats quickly. The $45,000 FMTDs (Fast Marine Target Drones) move at up to 60 kilometers an hour, and are guided by remote (up to ten kilometers away) operators, using cameras in a moveable mast. The five meter (15.5 foot) boats have sensors that record hits. Data travels two ways between the operator (who can control up to six boats at a time) and the boats. Upgrades include a larger (6.2 meter) boat and a sensor system that can also count near misses.

Ship commanders have become alarmed at the threat from speedboats, and are scrambling to develop countermeasures. The problem off Somalia is pirates, who use the speedboats to get alongside merchant ships, so they can board and hijack them. A more ominous threat is found in Iranian, and terrorist, use of speedboats to get close enough to detonate suicide bombs. 



Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close