AUSS Drone - Autonomous Underwater & Surface System
French sensor and system manufacturer Thales has an interesting concept for a torpedo-sized underwater drone (autonomous underwater vehicle - AUV) which can also perform on the surface. The AUSS (Autonomous Underwater & Surface System) looks generally torpedo-shaped but with a distinctive shark-like nose. Combined with a similarly distinctive tail arrangement with a circular control surface behind twin contra-rotating screws, this allows it to perform on the surface as well as underwater.
The design has a 2 week endurance. It can operating in the maritime ISR (Surveillance, intelligence & reconnaissance) role as well as maritime counter-terrorism (MCT), mine warfare (MCM), ASM control. It can also fulfill civilian roles such as monitoring offshore hydrocarbon fields and searching for wrecks.
For ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) missions the AUSS can deploy a sensor mast (e.g. Periscope) from its nose. This is then raised above the water by orientating the drone stern down.
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