Bluefin Robotics, a subsidiary of Battelle, is joining with The Columbia Group to invest in the next generation large submersible vehicle.
Bluefin is a leader in design and manufacture of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and related technology. Battelle has a long history of meeting the technology needs of the U.S. Navy including work on the Advanced SEAL Delivery System. The Columbia Group has provided the U.S. and foreign navies with Swimmer Delivery Vehicles for more than 20 years.
The Columbia Group currently is developing the hull mechanical and electrical systems for the large Dual Mode Undersea Vehicle, capable of operation in either manned or autonomous modes. Called Proteus, it will be advanced by incorporating Bluefin’s autonomy technology for use in unmanned missions. Bluefin is also supplying mission planning capabilities and the power solution. Battelle is providing battery charging and systems integration support.
Proteus a 25-foot, 6,200 lb. black cylinder hauling two 220-lb. bomblets, with room to fit 400 lbs. of submerged cargo, or six Navy SEALs in its optional manned mode.
Manufacturers Bluefin Robotics, a Battelle subsidiary, and the Columbia Group brought it to the Gulf of Mexico off of the Florida coast to put it through sea trials, shown here for the first time. The sea trials allow Proteus to work out its bugs, and already Bluefin and the Columbia group have made improvements: It can now haul up to 550 lbs. submerged. And although the longest it’s been at sea is an hour, Proteus’ various battery configurations ought to give it a range of 900 miles and a top speed of 10 knots.