27 May 2020
One year since its acquisition by BAE Systems FAST Labs, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) specialist Riptide is expanding its portfolio, building UUVs that are larger, operate at greater depths, and increasingly autonomous, the company told Janes .
Riptide is more commonly associated with smaller UUVs, notably a Micro system that has been acquired by the US Navy (USN) and several research organisations. This focus was dictated by the company’s funding levels when it operated independently, said Jeff Smith, who founded Riptide and is now BAE Systems’ director of UUV systems.
BAE Systems has enhanced its unmanned underwater vehicle product offerings following its acquisition of FAST Labs.
The aim with the Micro platform was to develop a UUV capability that could house a single payload, or possibly two depending on their size, Smith said. As the company sold these systems, customer feedback suggested a need for larger systems, he added, with Riptide now working on a one-man portable (1MP) UUV and a 2MP variant.
The Micro system has been upgraded in several ways since Riptide became part of BAE Systems, Smith said. It now has a new, quieter motor, as required by many naval operators.
“We realised that we needed to do a lot in terms of design evolution to move toward much quieter vehicles for certain military applications, particularly for submarine missions,” he said.
The 2MP platform design is also being improved with a prototype completed. This upgrade work focused on the platform and its payloads, notably an effort “to field a very capable mine countermeasures mission payload”, he explained.
One year since its acquisition by BAE Systems FAST Labs, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) specialis...