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Indo Pacific 2022: Royal Australian Navy breaks cover on Speartooth large unmanned underwater vehicle

The large unmanned underwater vehicle unveiled by the Royal Australian Navy and C2 Robotics at Indo Pacific 2022. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has unveiled a large unmanned underwater vehicle (LUUV) that the service is developing with Melbourne-based defence electronics company, C2 Robotics.

It is known as Speartooth, and three variants of the LUUV are under various stages of land-based and sea-based trials. These are two 4 m versions and an 8 m variant, the last of which is on display at the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney.

Speaking to Janes at the exhibition, a representative from the RAN's Warfare Innovation Navy Branch described the LUUV as a low-cost system that can be produced at scale and with speed when required. An agreement to carry out the development was inked between the RAN and C2 Robotics in January 2022, he added.

The Speartooth is able to undertake a wide spectrum of missions associated with unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), said the representative who was unwilling to provide further details of this citing confidentiality concerns.

The 8 m Speartooth LUUV has an overall beam of 1 m, with an operational depth of 2,000 m, and a maximum operational range of 2,000 km. It is powered by a hybrid lithium-ion and diesel powerplant with a direct propeller propulsion system. Meanwhile, the 4 m LUUV has an overall beam of about 0.5 m and features largely similar operational specifications to the 8 m variant.

Both variants feature a composite hull and have been designed with large, flexible payload bays that can be fitted with various types of underwater sensors and instruments. The UUVs will also be incorporated with a digital periscope system at a later part of their trials.

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