The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is planning to modify and update its inventory of five Black Pearl autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to accommodate a series of new payloads.
Originally developed by General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Bluefin Robotics business under a contract awarded in January 2014, the 21-inch Black Pearl AUV is a customised variant of the company’s Bluefin-21 vehicle. According to the NRL, the Black Pearl programme was established to support various strands of research, including long-range and multistatic mine-hunting and anti-submarine warfare programmes, and distributed sensing research.
In a request for information (RFI) released on 22 January, the NRL disclosed its intention to introduce several changes to the five Black Pearl AUVs.
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