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Drone boats used to chase pirates

Stealth drone boats have been created to combat piracy without putting a crew at risk.

The Eclipse fleet, which is believed to be the first set of drones capable of operating on water, is remote-controlled, invisible to radar and can travel 60 miles an hour, according to the (U.K.) Daily Mail.

The 35-foot boats are designed to invisibly glide across the ocean, spotting pirates. They have a range of 600 nautical miles, can loiter for 10 days at low speeds without needing refueling and are powered by two 500-hp water jets, the newspaper reported.

The fleet was designed by engineers in Abu Dhabi by American military robotics experts 5G International.

“Our fleet of USVs is unique,” Al Seer Marine spokesman Keith Henderson told the Daily Mail.

“Various companies have prototype boats, but none offer a whole fleet. The size and type of USV depends very much on the kind of mission you want to send it on. They use cutting-edge technology to carry out high-speed chases and provide top-level surveillance while at the same time operating totally undetected.

The boats themselves are built with a radar-reflective superstructure, allowing them to scatter radar signals rather than bouncing them back, Henderson said. “We believe our boats will be at the forefront of the fight against piracy and crucial to search-and-rescue missions around the world.”

They can be decked out with a high-powered fire hose, a cannon that fires nets to foul propellers and a 50-caliber gun. They use infrared cameras to see in the dark and can identify chemical matter and underwater mines.

The most expensive model costs 2 million pounds, or more than $3 million.

Powered by two 500-hp water jets made by Rolls-Royce, the Eclipse range also boasts gyroscopic HD cameras, which take pictures of their surroundings, analyzing them for potential threats and relaying information to a manned control station.

Click here for the full report.

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