An experimental unmanned surface vehicle has transited the Panama Canal on the way to its new home in California, USNI News has learned.
Nomad, a former offshore patrol vessel retrofitted with systems to allow the ship to operate autonomously, passed through the Panama Canal this week, according to ship spotters tracking data from Marine Traffic.com. A Navy official also confirmed the transit.
Earlier this year, the Navy held its first major exercise utilizing unmanned ships and aircraft along with crewed ships and planes as a proof of concept.
In addition to the Ghost Fleet ships, the Navy is outfitting two more Overlord USVs (OUSVs) to inform the development of its Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) program ahead of a planned Fiscal Year 2023 start for the new class.
“The Navy intends for these ships to be armed with vertical launch system cells to fire off defensive and offensive missiles – with sailors onboard manned ships overseeing targeting and firing decisions, since there would be no personnel on the LUSV,” USNI News reported last year.