The US Navy has partnered with DARPA to develop autonomous robotic ships. The concept was named NOMARS (No Mariners Required Ship). If it is successfully implemented, a warship may appear in the US Navy, which will take on the most "boring, dangerous and dirty" work, saving ships with live crews from it.
Within the framework of the joint project, it is planned to build 10 autonomous unmanned surface ships within five years - Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) with a length of 61 to 91 m with a displacement of 2000 tons. The ships will perform the functions of reconnaissance or floating missile platforms. Ideally, LUSVs will be either fully autonomous or small-crewed.
While NOMARS is a separate project to build a fully autonomous ship from scratch, LUSVs will build on existing ships with crew accommodation, DARPA said.
The main feature of NOMARS is the absence of a captain's bridge, conning tower, living quarters and other infrastructure necessary to support the life of the crew, which will significantly reduce the size of the vessel.
Created on the basis of small vessels for servicing offshore oil platforms, LUSV will retain their previous functions, but they are unlikely to be useful in the future in the ranks of the Navy.
According to experts, the creation of NOMARS is only a matter of time. If recently the main driver of the project was the creation of an inexpensive unmanned warship, now the factor of an epidemic has been added to this, the victims of which have become hundreds of sailors. A drone ship is not afraid of any COVID-19.