MCLEAN, Va. – Knowing the environment is key to undersea dominance and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) are key to surveying the battlespace safely, said the oceanographer of the Navy. Rear Adm. Jonathan W. White, addressing an audience Feb. 14 at a conference of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said that “battlespace on demand” is the goal of the Navy’s oceanographic efforts.
The vision of the future is the capability to turn “any chunk of the ocean into an acoustic range,” White said, with the desire to develop Aegis-like awareness of any undersea area of operation. The Navy deploys Littoral Battlespace Sensing (LBS) autonomous undersea vehicles and LBS gliders to gather data on the dynamic ocean environment from the oceanographic survey ships (AGSs) run by Military Sealift Command. White said that the sixth Pathfinder-class AGS, Maury, will be delivered on March 26.
The Navy also is developing Large-Diameter UUVs, and the Mk 18 Mod 2 UUV, the latter of which will transition to full military operations in 2015.
White stressed the importance of affordability of unmanned systems to the assembled industry representatives, and of the need to develop interoperability with allied and partner nations.
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