DARPA UUV undergoes deep sea testing
A new specialised unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) developed under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project has successfully completed deep-water testing by Bluefin Robotics. The system has been designed as part of efforts to develop affordable distributed technology to address Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) surveillance needs over large, operationally relevant areas.
The UUV addresses the requirements of a Phase II subcontract from Applied Physical Sciences (APS) for the Deep Sea Operations (DSOP) programme, which in turn is part of DARPA's Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) programme.
The test programme, conducted in February, saw Bluefin Robotics conduct six days of operational testing including two 4,450m dives totalling 11 hours.
In testing the system, the company was provided an opportunity to vet several new vehicle capabilities for their modular UUVs including an extended operational depth rating, an advanced pressure vessel design, a new power system, a newly available high-powered acoustics transducer system, and a transportable docking head launch and recovery system.
David P Kelly, president and CEO of Bluefin Robotics, said: ‘I am proud to have a team, partners, and vendors that step up to solve subsea challenges. We are looking forward to tackling the next set of challenges posed by the DARPA programme and applying our hard-won experiences to others.’
According to Bluefin Robotics, Phase III of the contract was awarded in early March and will fund the full integration of the deep-sea sonar into the vehicle, as well as fund the production of a second system with sonar to support networked operations.
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