Abu Dhabi has developed what is believed to be the world’s first fleet of unmanned remote-controlled stealth ships, which can be used to combat against pirates and protect nuclear power facilities and other vital coastal assets.
The 35-foot long vessels, which range in price from ¬£260,000 ($407,810) up to ¬£2m ($3.1m) can glide through the water undetected by radar, can travel at speeds of up to 60mph and can travel up to 600 nautical miles over ten days without needing to be refuelled, according to a report by the Daily Mail newspaper.
The unmanned boats are believed to be the world’s first stealth remote-controlled vessels and are being built in Abu Dhabi by ship building firm Al Seer Marine, in association with Florida-based military robotics company 5G International.
The unique vessels, known as the Eclipse, also come with added extras such as a high powered fire hose, a cannon that fires nets and even a 50 calibre gun.
“Our fleet of USVs (unmanned surface vehicles) is unique. Various companies have prototype boats but none offer a whole fleet,” Keith Henderson, a spokesman for Al Seer Marine, was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail report.
“The size and type of USV depends very much on the kind of mission you want to send it on. We have something for everything – our fleet is the first in the world. They use cutting edge technology to carry out high speed chases and provide top level surveillance while at the same time operating totally undetected.
“Unlike with manned boats you don’t have to worry about a crew getting sea sick, tired or even scared. The boats themselves are built with a radar reflective superstructure allowing them to scatter radar signals rather than bouncing them back.
“They can travel in shallow water or deep oceans, and are barely affected by weather. We believe our boats will be at the forefront of the fight against piracy, and crucial to search and rescue missions around the world,” he added.
The UAE is currently in the process of building its first nuclear power plants and, according to promotional material on Al Seer Marine’s website, the USVs “are import tools for the nuclear power and related industries” and can be equipped with computers and sensors to detect radiological, geophysical and biological data of critical importance to nuclear power plants.
Al Seer Marine is part of the Royal Group of Companies, an Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate that also includes Hydra Properties, Profile Group and Reem Finance.
When contacted by Arabian Business for further comment, a spokesperson for Al Seer Marine said it could not comment further as the company had placed a moratorium on all publicity and press comment regarding the Eclipse.