The US Navy has selected three vendors to develop competing prototypes of its new, large undersea drone to protect against present and future maritime threats.
Anduril Industries, Kongsberg Discovery, and Oceaneering International have each been awarded contracts to advance the service’s Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) program.
The LDUUV prototype should be able to effectively deliver payloads and effectors in dispersed, long-range, deep, and contested undersea environments.
The three companies should also leverage their expertise in developing unmanned systems to produce a “cost-effective” and “scalable” solution for the US Navy’s underwater warfare needs.
“The successful prototypes will enable future capabilities in [subsea warfare] and undersea warfare] missions,” the announcement stated. “This project will also drive advancements in underwater engineering, autonomous systems, communications, and shape employment of LDUUV for future naval operations.”
The three competing firms were selected following a rigorous evaluation process.
Anduril boasts its vast experience in developing autonomous underwater vehicles, having produced sophisticated platforms such as the Dive-LD for littoral and deep-water operations.
Kongsberg also said it will leverage its experience with the HUGIN Endurance underwater vehicle “to provide the expertise needed on such a program.”
The other competing firm, Oceaneering International, is known for its Freedom underwater robotic solution that has next-generation sensors and cameras for improved intelligence-gathering.
“NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command), in partnership with the DIU (Defense Innovation Unit), has selected the best-in-breed from industry to rapidly advance new undersea capabilities in the subsea and seabed warfare domain,” program manager Capt. Grady Hill said.