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India Launches Armed Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Project: Report

India has launched an Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) development project.

The Indian Navy is interested in procuring up to 12 XLUUVs, Naval News revealed, citing an Indian Ministry of Defence document, adding that the prototype is expected to be ready by 2025.

The armed platform is being pursued as the country faces a delay in the procurement of six locally-manufactured diesel-electric submarines featuring air-independent propulsion technology.

Expected Roles

The unmanned underwater vehicle is expected to be 50 meters (164 feet) long, five meters (16 feet) wide, and 10 meters (33 feet) high. Its expected displacement is less than 300 tons.

The specifications could be changed at a later stage, according to Naval News.

The platform’s expected roles include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as anti-submarine, anti-surface, and mine warfare. 

The underwater vehicle should be autonomous, with the capability to conduct operations in shallow and restricted waters.

It should also be able to return to harbor on its own, and be able to be transported by motherships and trailers on land.

Desired Features

According to the outlet, the vehicle should have a payload capacity of 10 tons, and the Ministry of Defence is considering arming the vehicle with two 533mm torpedo tubes and mine laying capability.

The submerged vessel should have a maximum speed of 8 knots (15 kilometers/9 miles per hour) and a cruise speed of 4 knots (7.4 kilometers/5 miles per hour).

It’s expected to have an endurance of 45 days using either “Li-Po/Li-ion batteries or a fuel cell based Air Independent Propulsion system as the power source.”

“Sensors fitted on the XLUUV would include a flank array sonar, towed array sonar, bow sonar, multi-beam echo sounder sub-bottom profiler, collision avoidance sonar, I band radar, electronic support measures system and a periscope mast with electro-optical/infrared cameras.”

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