State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled its large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
The BlueWhale AUV has undergone “thousands of autonomous operation hours, including intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence, and identifying the presence of naval mines,” the company revealed.
The unmanned platform can perform the roles of a manned submarine at a fraction of the cost and maintenance for several weeks, the company added.
The platform can perform a range of missions, including intelligence-gathering, submarine and sea mine detection, and underwater target search.
The underwater vessel features a telescopic mast equipped with radar and electro-optical systems to detect sea and coastal targets.
The information gathered by the mast is relayed in real-time through a satellite communications antenna to command posts worldwide.
The BlueWhale uses a towed sonar and flank array sonar, with receiver arrays on both sides of the platform for submarine detection and acoustic intelligence-gathering.
In addition, the platform performs mine detection through a dedicated synthetic aperture sonar, while a sensor suite ensures its safe transit underwater and near the sea surface.
The battery-powered vessel has an endurance of two to three weeks and can be transported in a 40-foot (12 meters) shipping container.