Navy looking to industry to explore UUV capabilities

By Audrey Decker / December 3, 2021 at 11:51 AM

The Navy is hosting a workshop next February with industry and academia to explore autonomous capabilities on large and long-endurance unmanned undersea vehicles.

The Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office recently developed a list of capabilities for next-generation UUVs that need further development, according to a request for information released Tuesday.

Capabilities that could benefit Extra Large UUVs include estimation of on-site performance, prediction of future performance and the detection, prediction and mitigation of faults, according to the RFI.

"It is anticipated that performance, fault handling and overall reliability will become even more important as UUV missions increase in duration from hours to days or weeks of operation," the RFI states.

"The outcome of the workshop will be an understanding of the state of these capabilities and their applicability to Navy UUV systems, as well as the identification of areas that require additional research," it adds.

The Navy is committed to procuring XLUUVs because the vehicle will fill a "very specific mission" in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region, according to Rear Adm. Doug Perry, director of undersea warfare.

However, there has been congressional pushback on the Orca XLUUV and Snakehead Large Displacement UUV.

The Senate Appropriations Committee's draft of the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill, released in October, noted while the Navy is asking for funds for additional XLUUV requirements, the baseline program is performing poorly.