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The United States Navy has revealed its plans to build an unmanned underwater vehicle called the “Bluefin-21” that is intended to operate independently under difficult ocean conditions, like the Gulf of Mexico, in order to better assess the effects of a major disaster like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to a March 7 Navy News release, one of the major hurdles being explored is how to get a crew to safely exit the underwater vehicle and return to land, while avoiding contamination from the vehicle’s internal oxygen system.
The Bluefin-21 has already been tested in several states and in a closed environment called a “diver enclosure,” in which the submerged underwater vehicles were submerged for 24 hours by sea water before being submerged again in the open ocean. In that environment, the Bluefin-21 failed after one of the vehicles’ onboard batteries failed, resulting in it being unable to detect targets or even communicate with others.
After completing a series of tests that involved testing underwater to depths of 13,091 feet (3 kilometers), the Navy will need to figure out how to get a crew inside. The Bluefin-21 will be able to travel under water at speeds ranging from five knots to 23 knots according to the United States Navy.
The Navy is working with the University of California, Santa Cruz and University of California, San Diego for the underwater testing and engineering of the Bluefin-21. There have already been several reports by divers that the underwater vehicle could survive in the deep ocean for weeks if not months.
According to the United States Navy, the Bluefin-21 is expected to continue to operate underwater while undergoing testing.
The unmanned underwater vehicle has already been deployed many times in the last couple of years, including this year in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The United States Navy claims that Bluefin-21 has been the first non-nuclear autonomous underwater vehicle to successfully complete two successful underwater underwater trials. The unmanned underwater vehicle also conducted this summer’s Operation Noble Eagle to “protect shipping in the Middle East from potential attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”
(Photo Credits: Shutterstock.com, YouTube.com, Bluefin-21)
A day after the National Police Agency (NPA) announced changes to the new Uniformed Code of Military Justice [UCMJ], the public prosecutor of the National Court of Criminal Appeals (NCJC), and the military court commander have issued a
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