By Axios reporter Sarah Barshaw The U.S. Navy has set sail on a new, faster and cheaper vessel that can navigate the coral reefs off Hawaii and its islands.
The $8.5 million Petion, the first ship to use a new technology developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin, will join two other ships that have already made their way to the islands, the U.K. Royal Navy said.
The new ship, named the Petion for its original design, will use a pair of advanced propellers that make it more maneuverable, capable of taking off from land and landing on the seafloor.
The U. S. Navy is working on the vessel in the hopes of reducing the number of ships on the Hawaiian Islands by 50 percent, or more, by 2025.
The plan calls for the ship to be fully autonomous by 2025, making it one of the first vessels to be built with a robot in the hull.
“The design and technology are already well-proven and well-understood in the Navy,” Navy Capt. Greg Anderson, the Petions director of research, said in a statement.
“This project is an extension of our effort to provide the greatest safety and reliability for all sailors in the Pacific.”
This is an exciting and exciting project, and I am confident that the Navy and Marine Corps will be able to accomplish their mission,” he said.
Petion has a cruising speed of 5 knots, compared with the 6-foot (1.2 meters) cruise speed of the Royal Navy’s other two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Victory.