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HII unveils new medium-class underwater drone

HII's new REMUS 620 UUV. (HII)

US shipbuilder HII has pulled the curtain back on its newest unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), a platform that company officials say represents the “most capable medium-class” UUV on the market.

The basic platform specifications for the new REMUS 620, such as size and weight, mirror those of the navy's Littoral Battleship Sensing-Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (LBS-AUV) and the LBS-Razorback systems, according to a company statement. The former is used by the navy's mine-countermeasures squadrons, while the latter is fielded by the US Naval Oceanographic Office and the service's submarine fleet, the 7 November statement added.

Aside from size and weight, the new REMUS 620 is a more advanced variant than the company's other 600-class UUVs, said Duane Fotheringham, president of unmanned systems at HII's Mission Technologies division.

The 620 has a maximum loiter time of 110 hours and a operational range of 275 nautical miles, Fotheringham told reporters during a 7 November briefing. However, loiter time drops down to 70 hours and maximum range shrinks to 200 nautical miles, when the 620 variant is outfitted with a synthetic aperture payload, he added.

“Despite that reduction, the range and loiter time for the 620 represents more than a four-time improvement over our standard remote 600 vehicle,” Fotheringham said. Programme officials have also integrated a multimission payload capability, allowing end-users to easily swap out the standard synthetic aperture payload for those tailored to specific missions or environments.

“From the ground up, the REMUS 620 was designed for ease of payload integration,” Fotheringham said.

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