Later this year, a Virginia-class attack submarine will be deploying with a REMUS 600 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) onboard for unspecified missions. This could lead to routine UUV operations
from submarines, in particular in littoral waters.
The Navy is not disclosing what sensors or other mission systems the UUV will be carrying, only that “this
UUV has a wide variety of sensors ready for deployment,” said CAPT J. Carl Hartsfield, deputy executive
director and Undersea Rapid Capabilities Initiative
(URCI) program manager for commander, Submarine
Forces, in written responses to Seapower.
The versatile REMUS 600 can operate to depths of
“The REMUS 600-based vehicle deploying with a
Virginia-class submarine is modular in nature and can
deploy with a wide range of payloads,” Hartsfield said.
“Many payloads for medium-sized commercial vehicles
exist, and many more are in development. Sensors fitted
on these types of vehicles have collected ocean data,
mapped the sea floor and sensed the above-water environment for commercial industry, academia and the military.”
Sensors that are known to have been deployed on
the REMUS 600 include side-scan, synthetic-aperture
and forward-looking sonars, and a camera.
The REMUS 600 being deployed already is owned
by the Navy, said Tom Reynolds, business development
manager for defense at Hydroid, a
unit of Kongsberg, which builds
the REMUS family of UUVs.
“It’s tailored for them,” Reynolds
said.” There is REMUS 600, the
“But the payload and communications — the front
part — of it is different. What the submarine force is using
incorporates probably 70 percent of what all REMUS 600s
incorporate. We have worked with the Navy as well as the
Woods Hole [Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts]
and other folks to have a front end that meets what the
submarine force needs,” he said.
“There is really no limit other than the imagination
for what will fit on this vehicle,” Reynolds said. “It’s a
modular AUV [autonomous underwater vehicle], not
constrained to mine warfare or any other specific mis-
sion. It is whatever any university or sensor organiza-
tion can make that will fit in that 12-3/4-inch form fac-
tor. It would have to account for trim and buoyancy
and a few other things. It’s a modular vehicle and,
software-wise, it is open architecture. The Navy and
the submarine force envision this as another tool that
can deliver multiple and a wide variety of sensors and
payloads to an area far away from the submarine.”
“UUVs and other sensors in the undersea domain are
developing so rapidly that the line blurs between experi-
ments and operations,” Hartsfield said. “To put military
capability on the edge of emerging technology, military
Navy eyes roles for unmanned underwater vehicles
that can be launched from submarines
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
This year, a Virginia-class attack submarine will deploy with a
REMUS 600 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).
■ The modular REMUS 600 has been proven in a variety of roles.
■ Battery endurance and safety are challenges to reliable UUV
■ The Proteus vehicle has the option of being manned.