DARPA’s robot warship looks suspiciously like an Imperial Star Destroyer

Jared Keller – Task and Purpose May 7, 2020

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency artists’ rendering of a ship designed to operate completely without human intervention. Click to enlarge

As if you needed more proof that the U.S. military is absolutely a part of the Galactic Empire and not the Rebel Alliance: the Pentagon is eyeing a new robot warship that looks like something straight out of a galaxy far, far away.

A new project within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is currently working to advance the Navy’s broad goal of fielding a fleet of unmanned surface vessels to counter Russia and China on the high seas, C4ISRNet reports.

While the program, called NOMARS (as in “No Manning Required, Ship,”), is separate from the Navy’s current $1 billion push to produce batch of unmanned surface vessels, DARPA’s program would reportedly seek to rapidly mature the technology beyond the service’s existing capabilities.

“NOMARS is going and looking at ‘Can I take people completely off ships,’” DARPA Tactical Technology Office chief Mike Leahy told C4ISRNet. “That’s a risky endeavor. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that. We don’t know if that’s going to pan out.”

Of course, DARPA has already fielded an advanced autonomous USV in the form of the Sea Hunter, but to achieve a revolutionary advance in the technology, DARPA plans on going with a radical new design for its next-generation robot vessel.

“NOMARS will challenge the traditional naval architecture paradigm, designing a seaframe from the ground up with no provision, allowance, or expectation for humans at sea,” according to a DARPA solicitation posted in January.

Star wars imperial destroyer. Click to enlarge

As part of its ongoing quest for a fleet or robot warships. the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2020 budget called for the Navy to procure two large unmanned surface vessels (LUSVs), while the service’s fiscal year 2021 budget request called for the procurement of two additional LUSVs as well as 17 other unmanned vessels across the service’s Future Years Defense Plan.

The Navy envisions each LUSV as between 200 feet and 300 feet in length and having full load displacements of 1,000 tons to 2,000 tons, about the size of a corvette, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report on the subject.

According to the CRS report, the Navy wants LUSVS to be “low-cost, high-endurance, reconfigurable ships based on commercial ship designs, with ample capacity for carrying various modular payloads—particularly anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and strike payloads, meaning principally anti-ship and land-attack missiles.”

In January, the head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command directed the service’s surface force to develop concepts for incorporating LUSVs and their medium-sized counterparts into individual afloat units, per Defense News.

As for the Navy’s involvement in DARPA’s NOMARS testing, the service has been looped into current efforts “so that we can make sure that information is flowing,” Leahy told C4ISRNet. “But we will reserve the right to take risks that may not be in the direction they want to go. Because sometimes learning what does not work is even more valuable than what does.”


5 responses to “DARPA’s robot warship looks suspiciously like an Imperial Star Destroyer”

  1. They don’t look alike. There is no similarity in hulls. The deck is similar, but you try designing a space-based battle cruiser without a pointed nose for a young fantasy engaged audience? A galactic space ship can be almost any shape. At speed, these space ships need luck or some forward-facing electromagnetic space debris deflection shield. So, in theory, it could be a box or something like an oil tanker.

  2. Had a good chuckle at the low cost part, those two words and U.S. do not belong together.
    The navy should donate their littorals, somebody could throw in some of those f35’s, and
    they could prolly get right to work on some serious death star.
    But warp drive should come first, maybe a low cost one. I’m thinking manual, maybe 4 speed. Corona be damned, light speed ahead.

  3. @ Carl Jones

    Once again being the mouth piece for tptb? anyone can see the design is strikingly similar, which is what the article is getting at, they never said it was an exact clone…
    Heck the clone wars are still to come, Dotty the sheep was in the 90’s, but we have heard nothing from the field asides from a few years ago when Iran managed to clone a sheep, still decades behind the West.
    Remember, the Republic fleet was there before the Empire usurped power… USA fleet, usurped by the Jews? Fortress America as they planned? With two great fleets, one for the Pacific and one for the Atlantic… What easier way to field a massive fleet than have them as unmanned, you could get away with one or two operators per vessel (if not a few ships just to one operator to monitor and problem solve).
    Thus a few hundred vessels for the same crew cost as one Frigate or Destroyer.

    What I do not get is why they still insit on a propeller? Jet propulsion would be much more suited for a small craft with light weight and high manouverability, just think of the stunts and tight turns you see at the beach when people ride a jet ski, minus the g force limitations of people.

    What is interesting if that, just like Iran use inexpensive speed boats in groups to harass the US in their region, the US could use a swarm of speed boat or smaller sized vessels, each equiped with either a missile/torpedo (or two), high caliber gun or anti air gun/missile.
    Each ship alone would be useless vs a large craft or group, but when you have anywhere upto a hundred working together, they would have more than enough combined firepower to defeat anyone.

    Small targets, low to the water line, hard to spot and target, let alone sink.
    Use cheaper materials like fiber glass hulls, making them cheap and lighter, so they can move faster and more efficiently (armour is only a worry when you need to protect the crew, the saving on armour costs and fuel costs would make these throw away vessels if needed to be, but asides from being used in combat and sacrificed for a win, they would have a dozen plus years service life).
    Unlike larger ships that require a refit in dock to get updated systems, these are small and easily serviceable by one person (or two) and with a modular design, can be kept at the cutting edge of technology easily, also a test bed for new technology.
    Anti submarine, boat and aircraft capability between them all…

    Scary thought to be at sea and encounter the Borg lol (or if you prefer the reboot Trek, the hive ships in the third film)

  4. The local car wreckers here is full of late model cars with computer problems. Cars are now shutting themselves down in the middle of the freeway because of the simplest problem. A friend has a boat that keeps turning itself off, computer problems. Cars, boats and planes are becoming too complicated to work or fly, Who believes a tax payer funded billion dollar robot warship would be more effective and reliable than a bunch of drunken radicals in a rowboat full of explosives.

  5. Mojo Jojo: wtf does this mean: “tptb?” Funny how I am called a troll, & now I am a mouthpiece for something? I am an individual, a truther, that’s it. I must be doing a good job because quite a few people/code bots on here try to undermine what I say by implying that I work to someone else’s agenda. There is no fame or money in telling the truth.