The Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) program, recently introduced by the Office of Naval Research, is the military’s attempt to build a prototype of that machine. If the Navy can pack up such a drone with sensors and send it out into the sea for long periods of time, they can push “Navy platform sensing capability over the horizon and extend its influence,” the Office of Naval Research notes in its call for proposals.
Outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, has been a big backer of sub bots. Back in November, he told Danger Room in November, that the Navy wants Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) that can stay out longer. “I need something I can keep out for weeks, that can move in strong ocean currents, that can close distances quickly,” Roughead said. ONR aims to push its underwater drone endurance even further than that and “extend the current capability of these vehicles from tens of hours to operability of the system for weeks to months,” according to the recent announcement.
ONR has outlined a challenging course for the pier-launched LDUUV prototype’s undersea tests. It needs to stay out for more than two months (over 70 days) and “reach 40 prescribed waypoints within 5 hours of the approved plan and 50 [meters] of each waypoint.” To keep it swimming around that long, ONR is looking for “power reduction technologies” that can cut down on the “power of core system while maintaining the current capability.”
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