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Pentagon Advances Experiments with Autonomous Barges to Replenish Aircraft

The Defense Department is allegedly gearing up to test a full-scale autonomous ocean replenishment system that utilizes technology-driven kits that are able to transform existing barges into self-moving platforms with the ability to land and refuel military aircraft. If successful, the barges will comprise a network of smart, technology-powered floating military gas and resupply stations. On Thursday, autonomous marine navigation company Sea Machines announced the advancement of a multi-year transaction between the company and the Defense Innovation Unit, which primarily focuses on rapid prototyping of autonomy projects for the department.

The $3.1 million contract consists of the experimentation and deployment of the autonomous sea navigation work. According to the Defense Department, the fleet would push the military’s operational capabilities at sea into a new realm. The technology-driven kit converts conventional deck barges into self-propelled ships that have the ability to surface vessels, shore stations, and replenish rotary-wing aircraft without human assistance.

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