The US Department of Defense (DoD) has moved ahead with efforts to introduce a new unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) capability for the US Navy (USN) following the selection of two prototypes for further testing.
The DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) awarded two separate contracts for industry to supply prototype UUVs and mission-specific payloads for USN evaluation under the Next Generation Small-Class UUV (SUUV) programme.
This programme will provide a common baseline small UUV that could be easily configured to fulfil the requirements of several USN user communities. According to the DoD’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request, delivery of prototypes will occur within the second quarter of the FY.
Flexibility in platform configuration, the ability to integrate third-party sensors, autonomy software, and variety in power sources were some of the desired attributes outlined by the DoD.
Hydroid announced in February 2020 that it had delivered a prototype REMUS 300 UUV to the USN for evaluation under the SUUV effort.
The REMUS 300 has a diameter of 190 mm and measures between 1,850 to 2,510 mm long – with a dry weight of about 36 to 58 kg – depending on its configuration. It maintains a comparable diameter with the smaller REMUS 100 but offers an increased depth rating of 305 m.
The UUV features field-changeable, environmentally sealed energy modules that enable operators to customise its endurance depending on the mission requirements. It typically travels at speeds between 3 to 4 kt but this can be increased to 8 kt by using high-speed thrusters, while a modular and open architecture facilitates the integration of new payloads, sensors, and algorithms.
Optional equipment can include a larger energy module for extended missions as well as additional data storage.
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