Unmanned surface vehicles (USV), which can be controlled from remote locations, ashore and afloat, form an increasingly important thread of the international naval tapestry.
‘Importantly, there is some political support for USV operations, as they greatly reduce the likelihood of own-force casualties, and may help enable deniability in covert operations. Also, they are of particular interest to small, but ambitious navies, as they offer, potentially, a lot of bang per buck. Singapore is a major player in the USV arena, its vessels from the Protector-class hae seen front-line action in Middle Eastern waters. Besides these vessels, which were built by Israel’s Rafael. Now, Singapore is set to field its own USV, in the form of the ST Electronics’ ‘Venus’, currently under development, and recently revealed at the IMDEX 09 naval exhibition and conference at the Lion City’s Expo Centre. With a length of nine metres, and a beam of 2.8 metres, the ‘Venus’ has a designed maximum speed of 50 knots, and endurance of up to eight hours. ‘Venus’ will be fitted with modular weapons and sensor outfits, in accordance with operational requirements, which will equip it to carry out anti-submarine, surface warfare, mine countermeasures and surveillance missions.