Senate authorizers add $100 million to save Navy's LDUUV program

By Audrey Decker / July 19, 2022 at 2:15 PM

Senate authorizers want to add $100 million in research and development funds to save the Navy's Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program, despite persistent program concerns.

The Navy planned to sink the Large Displacement UUV program in its fiscal year 2023 budget request, but the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the defense policy bill, filed yesterday, aims to reverse that decision.

“Despite program schedule underperformance, the committee believes the Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle could provide an important capability to the fleet once fielded,” according to the bill’s accompanying report.

Snakehead is the Navy’s largest submarine-launched UUV, intended to provide increased endurance, depth capability and payload capacity beyond small and medium UUVs.

Last fall, Senate appropriators recommended cutting LDUUV funding due to limited deployment opportunities.

“Misalignment of Snakehead LDUUV design and procurement efforts with submarine hosting interfaces resulted in limited availability of host platforms to conduct Snakehead operations,” according to the Navy’s FY-23 budget highlights book.

The House Armed Services Committee did not include language on saving the LDUUV program in its version of the defense policy bill.