Update: What We Know Now About Mystery Florida Spy Craft
Further details have emerged about a mysterious unmanned craft spotted off Florida last week that I wrote about Monday. We quickly realized the craft is a Wave Glider made by Boeing subsidiary Liquid Robotics and fielded by the U.S. Navy as Sensor Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft, or SHARC. The curious part was all those antennas, suggesting part of what the Navy terms SHARC's “classified payloads conducting critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.” Thanks to some sharp-eyed readers, the exact system has been identified – which may tell us something about the glider's mission and what it was doing there.
Many commenters noted that the dipole antenna array suggested a direction-finding setup, one for detecting and pinpointing the source of radio transmissions. Twitter submarine expert @Johann_U96 identified the exact model: it’s the SeaWatch system produced by maritime surveillance company ThayerMahan.
SeaWatch is an autonomous surveillance package integrated with an unmanned surface vessel, which gives long-endurance capability, staying at sea for months to monitor 'illicit activity.' While the website is cagey about exactly what ‘targets of interest’ are being tracked, the Florida location hints that smuggling may be involved. The website mentions that the system recently completed a successful 84-day mission for an unnamed U.S. government client.
While ThayerMahan is careful not to mention the Wave Glider by name, a 2017 interview with its CEO, retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Mike Connor, shows him standing next to a Wave Glider during sea trials off Hawai’i and talking about the company ...
More on: www.forbes.com