US Navy Vehicle Sizes Defined
Establish UUV design priorities: The Department of Defense (DoD) has pursued a large variety of UUVs during the past decade, mostly for mine clearing and ocean surveillance, launched from surface ships or shore. These applications did not require particular sizes of UUVs. As UUVs become more integrated with submarines as part of a family of systems, the Navy should focus on UUVs that can use the submarine’s ocean interfaces and conduct the most likely UUV missions. Specifically, the Navy should pursue the following UUV types as part of its undersea family of systems:
o Micro UUVs (about 6” or less in diameter) are inexpensive and improving in their endurance and on-board power. They could be procured and deployed in large numbers or swarms as weapons, to survey the ocean floor, or to interfere with enemy ASW operations.
o Small UUVs (about 12” in diameter) are commonly used today for surveys and minehunting, such as the Navy’s Mk-18 UUV. They will be able to take on other surveillance or attack missions as part of the Fleet Modular Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (FMAUV) program and operate from submarines as well as surface ships and aircraft.
o Medium UUVs (about 21” in diameter) are the size of the Navy’s Mk-48 submarine-launched torpedo. And while the Navy is not operating UUVs of this size today, the Modular Heavyweight Undersea Vehicle (MHUV) program plans to make the torpedo of the future able to be configured to conduct a range of missions, from mining and long-range attack to electronic warfare.
o Large UUVs (about 80” in diameter) such as the Navy’s Large Displacement UUV (LDUUV) are designed to use the planned Virginia Payload Module (VPM) tubes in Block V Virginia-class submarines. The LDUUV will provide a way for submarines to increase their sensor reach, expand their payload capacity, or deliver payloads into areas that are too risky or constrained for the submarine to reach.
o Extra-Large UUVs (More than 80” in diameter) in development would be designed to launch from shore or very large ships with well decks or “moon pools.” They could be used for long-endurance surveillance missions or primarily as “trucks” to deliver other payloads and UUVs. Experience with LDUUV will help inform concepts for using XLUUV.
Brian Clark CSBA Undersea Warfare Game Changers
The budget request included $165.8 million in PE 63502N for research, development, test, and evaluation of surface and shallow water mine countermeasures. The committee notes the Navy planned to spend $19.5 million in fiscal year 2016 on large diameter unmanned underwater vehicle product development. In fiscal year 2016, the Navy shifted the acquisition strategy from an industry prime contractor to a government lead system integrator. As a result, the committee recommends a decrease of $1.5 million to this program due to available prior year funds that were requested for source selection activities.
Extra large unmanned underwater vehicle
The budget request included $75.6 million in PE 64536N for research, development, test, and evaluation of advanced undersea prototyping. The committee notes the President’s budget request for this program element provides for the prototyping and testing of extra large unmanned undersea vehicles (XLUUV), including procurement of five vehicles and the lease of one vehicle. Based on the Navy budget justification information, the committee supports the procurement of two XLUUVs and the lease of a second similar vehicle. Understanding the operational need, the committee views the risk of developing five XLUUV prototypes concurrently as excessive and supports funding only the two XLUUVs that will begin fabrication in fiscal year 2017. The committee recognizes leasing a commercially available vehicle will enable refinement of tactics, techniques, and procedures. Therefore, the committee recommends a decrease of $34.4 million for this program.
XLUUV RFIs issued