A few days off the coast of the South American reversing Maryland passed the tests layout latest military technology. Remote-controlled boat went to the area of educational goals and made antitank missile attack complex Spike. Training missile launch was considered successful. For a couple of lines of text hides a lot of work and a huge prospects. Project PEM (Precision Engagement Module — «Precision combat module») was launched to the creation of complex equipment, which will allow to make lightweight craft vsepolnotsennuyu combat unit capable to cope with the huge number of tasks.
Remote-controlled boats and boats have the same great promise as flying drones. At a theoretical level this class of vehicles on forces almost no matter what task, which could be put before the fighting or swimming transport means. Unmanned ship can carry loads, including in complex criteria without endangering the crew. The same can be said about the remote-controlled boats with weapons. In addition, the lack of need for the crew, this technique may have the smallest size and / or carry more ammunition. But no matter what kind of military equipment with the remote control is exposed to «attack» on the part of electronic warfare. Radio channel control can be stopped because of what drone aircraft or boat will be worthless. In recent years, was initiated several projects designed to give unmanned boats and boats tremendous independence, at least in terms of access to the area puzzles.
One of the first with this problem coped Israeli engineers from the company Rafael. Middle of the two thousandth’s they presented unmanned boat Protector («Defender»). This design was created to patrol the waters of the respective intelligence and attack targets. Corresponding feature on-board electronics, «Defender» was the ability to switch control modes. Depending on the tactical situation and the need, the boat can be controlled by radio remote control from a ship or a ground team Fri, also able to do some common operations in absolutely automatically. In the latter case, electronics boats using inertial and satellite navigation, the ability to bring watercraft in the area, for example, where the target is located. Next, control is passed to the control and the operator can attack targets. According to some reports, Protector, like unmanned aerial vehicles, has the ability to automatically return to base in case of loss of control signal. Stroll rumors that experts at the current time of Rafael working on automatic detection and attack targets. Official data about it yet.
The boat Protector is a modified rubber boat with mounted thereon complex equipment. On the boat, the standard form set custom unit with a superstructure. Noteworthy that the latter has a corresponding contours characteristic technique with low radar signature. In the highest part of the superstructure located small mast with antennas communication also spherical cover optical system. The latter serves to collect visual info and its transfer agent. The optical system is mounted on a rotating basis and swinging, this operator can view almost all of the surrounding space. Specifically placed in front of superstructure multipurpose stable installation Mini-Typhoon, designed for motivated equipment, elected regardless of the current target. This may be an additional module or instrument intelligence. In the case of performing combat tasks «Defender» carries a machine gun or missile system suitable dimensions. So makarom unmanned boat Protector can do a wide range of different tasks. A certain number of such boats is armed with the Israeli Navy.
Israeli highest potential development rather rapidly intrigued the U.S. military, which soon acquired several copies Protector boats for testing and research. Since then, the South American specialists from the company Lockheed Martin and several other companies naval industry painstakingly examined all elements of design and made a number of relevant conclusions. In addition, with the introduction of Israeli developments was created project PEM, somewhat similar to the Protector. With all this the Americans have decided to significantly change the concept of introducing unmanned boat. Their PEM must have an even greater impact potential that in the future will allow tangible expand the circle of tasks. It should be noted, installing missile on a boat in some measure to justify himself recalls the idea of the mosquito fleet. In addition to providing severe shock abilities Americans also decide to make your own boat is very autonomous. For these purposes, a couple of years developed a detection unit and setting goals.
After the attack, using boats with explosives (2000, Yemen) destroyer ORP «Cole» lost 17 men killed and 39 wounded. And huge ships is hard to resist the boats
As a result, design work must be created combat system, having the possibility to automatically not only go to the target area, and to look for, as to storm it. By the time the true automatic control system is ready only partially: PEM can not help others reach the target area, using inertial or satellite navigation, but the upcoming performance of combat tasks remains the responsibility of the operator. Practically speaking specifically and was produced nedavneshny launch Spike. After leaving the boat to the limit, the operator launched a rocket. Selecting the type of anti-missile system, at first, was justified by the type of missile guidance. Spike ATGM zooms to the target with infrared head and, as a consequence, does not ask for additional equipment on board the boat. In the future, PEM can get and anti-aircraft armament, such as rocket family FIM-92 Stinger, having the same guidance system as anti-tank Spike. But in the case of relatively bolshennymi anti-aircraft missiles would have to decide the place to install them.
Not counting problems in the creation of the electronics with full autonomy mode there are certain difficulties with the database for similar boats. In the current time, and the Israeli Protector, and South American PEM made on the basis of flat-bottomed boats inflatable lung structure. It is easy to guess what the seaworthiness of these floating drones. Practically they can only work on a small distance from the shore or the base of the ship and are not able to operate even when the average excitement. The only reasonable way to do better navigability properties — increase the size, but larger watercraft until targeted and does not meet the requirements of the military. So Makar, in the current state of the South American project PEM is purely experimental and not in the distant future, he will not be able to become a real military equipment. As for Israel’s «Champion», it is a couple of years in the naval forces of their own country. Features of the territorial waters of Israel does not allow to chase the highest stroke features and pay more attention to the onboard equipment. There is a different approach to creating art, due to different criteria and wishes of potential customers. With a large modicum of probability can imagine that PEM ultimately remains just only a platform for developing new technologies, which then will be used in other projects.