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MADEX 2023: Hanwha Ocean XLUUV design breaks cover

A model of Hanwha Ocean's XLUUV on display at MADEX 2023. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Hanwha Ocean has unveiled the basic design of the extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle (XLUUV) it is developing for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

The design was showcased via a scale model unveiled at the MADEX 2023 exhibition held in Busan from 7 to 9 June. It was conceived pursuant to a contract signed between Hanwha Ocean and the South Korean government in April 2023.

The contract calls for basic design and development works for an XLUUV that is able to take on selected functions of a manned submarine, said a Hanwha Ocean representative who spoke to Janes at the exhibition. As such, the XLUUV will ultimately complement and reduce workload on the RoKN's fleet of submarines in the future.

The XLUUV has an overall length of 60 m and displaces about 60 tonnes while submerged. It features a cross-form rudder design for greater manoeuvrability in shallower waters.

The boat is powered by an air independent propulsion (AIP) system and can attain a top speed of about 16 kt. At average speeds below 8 kt, the XLUUV has an operational endurance of approximately 30 days.

The boat will be equipped with bow and flank sonars, but the exact specifics of these have yet to be ironed out, said the Hanwha Ocean representative. Likewise for the vessel's above-water sensors, the company is in consultation with government representatives to decide if the boat will be equipped with radars, optronics, or a combination of both.

In terms of weapons, the XLUUV will be equipped with two tubes that are capable of deploying 533 mm torpedoes and naval mines.

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