Monday, March 28, 2016

US Navy Planning Network of Robo Subs, Drones to Work with Future Attack Subs

Submarines today, and even more so in the future, will not only deliver weapons but will also carry a family of unmanned underwater and aerial vehicles to help extend their area of influence. Richard said the Navy has bought about 150 3-inch unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and about a dozen 21-inch UAVs that are fully integrated with the submarine and send information back. The submarine community also has 16 21-inch Littoral Battlespace Sensing Autonomous Underwater Vehicles coming into the fleet for additional intelligence-gathering underwater.

In the future, though, Richard said there will be more UUVs, but “they won’t always come by submarine, they may come by a number of mechanisms – you may launch them from a surface ship, they may be launched from the pier. It’s just a capability, a node in an undersea constellation that will include the seabed, fixed distributed systems. Not all UUVs are going to look like little submarines, there’s a bunch of different ways to put this effect in there.”

This idea plays into Richard’s view of the undersea domain – operations shouldn’t be platform-centric but rather domain-centric. In a graphic of future underwater operations, Richard said “the submarine’s not in the middle of the picture. That’s intentional to show that it is just part of a larger system that we’re putting out there.”

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