The holidays came early for the U.S. Navy as it unveiled its new toy.
The Navy unveiled on Tuesday the Ghostswimmer, a sharklike drone that can swim in waters as deep as 300 feet. The drone was developed by Boston Engineering, a Waltham, Mass.-based engineering consulting firm. It's intended for underwater surveillance operations, said Mark Smithers, chief technology officer and co-founder of the company, in an interview with CNBC.
"You could have teams of these patrolling our borders and stopping illicit things from coming into our borders," he said. The drone is meant for basic prevention and "stopping people from doing bad things," Smithers added.
Smithers said the drone looks like a shark because it needed enough space to fit in the necessary equipment that makes it functional. "We needed to look forward, so what started off looking like a tuna ended up looking like a shark," he said.
The Ghostswimmer, or the shark drone, also has commercial uses, including checking for erosion on structures such as bridges. "Instead of having a lot of divers going in and looking to see if thing are degrading, you now have a platform that's highly maneuverable," said Smithers. "It's designed for maneuverability, so we're talking about it being most useful, most efficient in those tight areas."
Boston Engineering's long-term plans for the Ghostswimmer include designing a version that can go deeper underwater, said Smithers. "There'll have to be a change in the design for it to go deeper."
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Smithers also added that, while the drone is meant for surveillance and protection, the Navy could potentially outfit the Ghostswimmer with weapons. "I'm sure there's nothing stopping them from doing that," he said.
—CNBC's Zack Guzman contributed to this article.