Naval Group Reveal XLUUV Demonstrator
Described as an 'Oceanic Underwater Drone Demonstrator', French defense giant Naval Group's entry into the XLUUV arena is impressive. The innovative design uses sleek whale-like lines, reminiscent of the SMX-31 concept.
According to an interview with Naval News, the vessel was designed 2016-2018 as a Naval Group initiative. Construction was from 2018, leading to sea trials in November 2020. This places it on a similar overall timeline to the Royal Navy's Manta program. The project is not currently backed by the French Navy (Marine Nationale) however.
The craft can undertake ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions. For this it has a comparatively large sonar and a retractable telescopic optronic / radar mast. Missions could include close observation of a hostile coast to improve situational awareness of a mother ship.
In future the craft could be fitted with a payload, such as torpedoes or nines. It could also be doubled in length, from ~10m long to ~20m, to increase endurance. This could involve more batteries, or AIP (air independent power). Naval Group has fuel cell AIP technology which logically could be scaled down to the XLUUV size.
Length: ~10 meters (33 ft), up to 20 meters (66 ft) with additional power options
Displacement: ~10 tons
Speed: 16 kt (max), 6 kt (cruise)
Armament: None. Possible future integration of torpedoes, mines...
THE book on Special Forces subs Covert Shores 2nd Edition. A world history of naval Special Forces, their missions and their specialist vehicles. SEALs, SBS, COMSUBIN, Sh-13, Spetsnaz, Kampfschwimmers, Commando Hubert, 4RR and many more.
Check it out on Amazon
Related articles (Full index of popular Covert Shores articles)
SMX-31 future submarine concept ('The Electric') w/Cutaway
Suffren (Barracuda) Class Attack Submarine w/Cutaway
Royal Navy Manta XLUUV extra-large UUV
XLUUV armed extra-large UUV
SWUV (/ PSM3G) advanced SDV
SNLE-3G next-generation French SSBN