Updated: originally posted 2nd Dec 2018
Poster of World's Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are getting larger. Or at least, more Navies are exploring the increased capabilities they bring. The thought leaders in this space have been the U.S. Navy who first laid out a UUV Master Plan in 2004. This included a category of 'large' Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) of over 20,000 lb. Today these are termed Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (LDUUV) following U.S. Navy terminology. It took until 2015 for the first type, the Innovative Naval Prototype (LDUUV-INP) to begin trials.
The U.S. Navy and industry has learned a lot from the successive trials of the LDUUV-INP and other large UUVs. The operational U.S. Navy Orca AUVs will be even larger though, reaching ~25.5 meters (84 ft) in length. These will likely be the largest UUVs in service for some time but could be challenged by future Japanese and British projects.
The poster shows:
LDUUV-INP - one of the first LDUUVs
Klavesin-2P-PM('Harpsichord') AUV from Russia. Carried by Russian Navy host submarines (BS-64 Podmoskovye and K-329 Belgorod) for sea-floor survey. It is a deep-diving design with limited speed or range.
HSU-001, the newly revealed Chinese Navy LDUUV. Based on the masts and configuration this appears to be a shallow-diving design intended for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)
ASWUUV, a new project for the South Korean Navy. This will be the first dedicated anti-submarine LDUUV.
Garmoniya-GUIDE, a Russian Navy project. Few details exist and construction status is unclear.
Orca XLUUV, shown with payload insert to give maximum overall length. US Navy project.
Poseidon. Russian nuclear weapon with AUV-like properties. Although I do not consider Poseidon to be an AUV, but is is commonly referred to as a 'drone'. It is really a weapon which, once launched, is on a one-way mission. "Mega-Torpedo" is a useful term. Either way its inclusion makes an interesting comparison.
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