Mystery Unmanned Craft Seen Off Florida May Be Secret SHARC Spy Vessel

A ‘what will be This specific?’ Facebook video coming from FishMonster, picked up by HI Sutton on his Covert Shores site, shows a curious vehicle spotted off Florida’s Key West last week. Virtually the only part of which above water will be a mast supporting an array of antennae.  The vehicle will be almost certainly a Wave Glider made by U.S. company Liquid Robotics (at This specific point owned by Boeing
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) , along with the antennas suggest which will be part of a U.S. Navy program known as Sensor Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft, or SHARC.

The object at first looked like debris — yet which will be moving under its own power. The Wave Glider harnesses natural energy to power missions lasting weeks, months, or years without refueling. On the surface will be a ‘float’ like a 10-foot-long surfboard covered in solar cells driving its electronics. This specific will be connected via a tether to an underwater ‘sub’  unit 30 feet below. As waves move the surfboard up along with down, the articulated sub converts up-along with-down into forward motion (video demonstrating the action here). Typical speed will be just 1 – 3 knots, yet the Wave Glider can keep going indefinitely; in 2013, one made an epic 8,000-mile, year-long journey across the Pacific.

Although they have been used for scientific research, their long endurance along with low profile make Wave Gliders ideal for military intelligence gathering, which will be likely why Boeing bought makers Liquid Robotics in 2016. The U.S. Navy has been working with Wave Gliders for many years, showing interest in their potential for hunting submarines. A Wave Glider can loiter for extended periods, towing an underwater sonar array along with communicating along with contacts to direct aircraft or ships on to a target. A fleet of low-cost Wave Gliders could sweep slowly across an area of interest, covering a much wider area than a few expensive manned ships.

The Navy’s sub-hunting Wave Glider will be known as Sensor Hosting Autonomous Research Craft, or SHARC. In 2011 the Navy commenced equipping their experimental SHARC gliders with the ‘Towed Array Integrated “L”  (TAIL),’ a passive towed acoustic array. This specific will be a set of specialized sensitive hydrophones which take advantage of the glider’s quiet propulsion to pick up distant marine engines. (which also gives the acronym SHARC TAIL).

Since then the Navy’s Wave Glider plans have grown more ambitious. Current R&D budget documents show spending of $6 million a year in 2019 along with 2020, doubling in 2021 along with tailing off with project completion in 2022. SHARC will be at This specific point part of a wider effort to use autonomous unmanned systems to gather information. SHARC’s particular role will be to:

“provide the fleet which has a low cost, asymmetric advantage in support of multiple classified missions. This specific includes persistent, autonomous situational awareness along with early warning of submarines or related submarine activity in potential support of TASWO/TRAPS [i.e. Anti-Submarine operations] as well as broad area, clandestine implementation of capabilities which enhance Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) along with strike missions.” (My emphasis).

Wave Gliders, being acoustically silent along with which has a low visual along with radar signature are stealthy compared to surface vessels. Unlike submarines they continuously feed data back to remote operators.

Current plans call for a fleet of 20 Navy SHARCS to carry out a full-scale demonstration mission in 2021, working together as a co-operative swarm to gather information. Exactly what information will be classified. The budget project plan mentions “classified payloads conducting critical Intelligence, Surveillance along with Reconnaissance (ISR) missions with simultaneous, wideband data links for signal along with imagery data.“  The SHARCS may be gathering signals intelligence, eavesdropping on communications along with detecting radar emissions – hence the need for all those antennae —yet they may be doing much more.

However, the U.S. will be not the only one with This specific technology. Back in 2016 I noted a near-identical copy of the Wave Glider called Fugu being tested by the Russian Navy. So, while which will be most likely one of ours, the device seen 15 miles off Key West might just be one of theirs. which could not be the very first time unmanned water craft were used for spying.

Update Tues 30th June: Thanks to some sharp-eyed readers, we at This specific point know what those mysterious antennae are along with what they tell us about the glider’s mission off Florida.

, http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DrudgeReportFeed/~3/EJcJe5Q2o2w/, 30 June 2020 | 12:10 pm

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