U.S. Navy Creates Robot Tuna

If it looks like a fish, and swims like a fish, it might be a military robot. Issei Kato/Reuters

The United States Office of Naval Research has been working on a covert robot, capable of infiltrating enemy territory. Dubbed "Project Silent Nemo," the robot is five feet long, weighs a hundred pounds and looks like a bluefin tuna. It is the Navy's first spy tuna.

The robot is in the process of being tested. This past week, members of the Navy took turns controlling the robot remotely, though the machine can also be programmed to swim a set path in advance. Project Silent Nemo could be in action in as soon as a year, reports the Virginian-Pilot. It may be used for patrolling, entering enemy waters, inspecting ships or searching for underwater mines.

"This is an attempt to take thousands of years of evolution—what has been perfected since the dawn of time—and try to incorporate that into a mechanical device," Jerry Lademan, the Marine in charge of the project, told the Pilot. Lademan is impressed by the fake tuna. "I thought it was a living fish. It's crazy."

The U.S. Navy has employed sea creatures before, but not robotic ones. The Navy has previously worked with dolphins, sea lions and beluga whales. Dolphins have proven most effective on missions, and they are often used to find sea mines. Sea lions are trained to retrieve lost items and have even been trained to put clamps on the legs of enemy divers.