Imagine a submarine slicing through the water behind enemy lines, deploying hydrophones to listen for activ- ity and watching the water column with active and
passive sonar — all without any danger to a single Sailor.
That is what the Navy is hoping to accomplish with
the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle
(LDUUV), a revolutionary piece of technology that
would go one step further in removing the Sailor from
danger and increasing the reach of the U.S. Navy.
The LDUUV received risk-reduction approval in
August 2015 — also known as a Milestone A decision
— which cleared the program to move forward with
the next phase of development in maturing the technology and reducing risks before fielding the vehicle.
Specifically, the LDUUV is an unmanned undersea
vehicle with a mission to conduct “dull, dirty, dangerous
and otherwise impossible” missions along with manned
platforms, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
spokeswoman Christianne Witten said in an e-mail
response to Seapower questions.
“The LDUUV will not only extend the mission capa-
bility of its host platform, but it will also allow the host
to conduct concurrent operations due to its significant
persistence (measured in weeks),” Witten said. “As a
result, the LDUUV effectively acts
as a force multiplier. In addition,
the LDUUV will be capable of sup-
porting advances in technology and
future payloads (such as advanced
intelligence, surveillance and recon-
naissance capabilities, deployable
payloads, and advanced, longer-
duration energy sources) via its open
architecture and modular design.”
The Naval Undersea Warfare
Center (NUWC) Newport Division,
R.I., currently has the lead on the
project. A request for information
was released to industry on May
20 to help determine technical and
manufacturing capabilities, knowledge, experience level
and the qualifications of industry. NUWC Newport
received “significant” responses from both large and
small businesses, Witten said. An industry day was held
Sept. 1 at NUWC Newport to help define the way for-
ward for the program.
“The Navy has plans for the competitive procurement of prototype subsystems to support the LDUUV
program development,” she added.
There is no timetable yet for a request for proposals.
In parallel, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is
working on a separate LDUUV effort. That vehicle will
be capable of being “stowed, launched and recovered by
multiple-host platforms, including littoral combat ships,
Virginia-class submarines and Ohio-class guided-missile
submarines,” ONR spokesman Bob Freeman said in an
e-mail. “The craft is being developed by the Unmanned
Maritime Systems Program Office, which is part of the
Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships.”
This effort still is in the concept development phase.
While industry will be involved in the future on some
level, NAVSEA decided earlier this year that it would not
solicit proposals from industry for designing and fabricating the LDUUV itself. That will be done entirely in house.
Large UUV would further remove Sailors from danger
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
There are parallel efforts within the Navy to develop a Large
Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV).
n The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport Division has the
lead on the Naval Sea Systems Command project.
n A request for information was released to industry on May 20 to
help determine technical and manufacturing capabilities, knowledge,
experience level and the qualifications of industry.
n The Office of Naval Research is undertaking a separate LDUUV
effort, which still is in the concept development phase.