MSubs Gets Contract for XL Autonomous Submarine Development

MSub’s S201 manned submersible to be converted into an unmanned vehicle (XLUUV). Photo: MSubs

Plymouth-based MSubs has been awarded an initial £1-million contract to build a test submarine that will be used to explore the potential capabilities of larger uncrewed underwater vehicles in the future.

Measuring about 30 feet in length, this autonomous submarine is significantly larger than autonomous submarines used for beach reconnaissance, allowing it to operate at a range of 3000 nautical miles, the  UK Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) explained.

The first extra-large autonomous test submarine will be developed for the Royal Navy following a new contract by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord announced the contract at the Underwater Defence & Security Symposium in Southampton.

He said: “I am enormously excited about the potential for remotely piloted and autonomous systems to increase our reach and lethality, improve our efficiency and reduce the number of people we have to put in harm’s way.

“These XLUUVs are at the forefront of underwater systems technology; UK technological developments such as this will be key to the Royal Navy maintaining its battle-winning edge in the underwater environment.”

XLUUV submarines can leave their dock autonomously and secretly move to the operational area without any embarked crew for up to three months. They are also able to sense hostile targets and report their findings back to the station, making them an important barrier for anti-submarine warfare.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Submersible autonomous vessels have huge potential and this project could be a game-changer for the UK’s underwater capability, taking our submarine service to the next level.

“I am pleased that this funding supports MSubs, a UK based company committed to innovation and research in the autonomous sector.

“This is a key example of how defence is doing more than ever before to give industry the opportunity to research innovative new technology.”

DASA delivery manager Adam Moore said: “DASA’s involvement is enabling this technology to advance at a much quicker pace and to deliver new capabilities to the Royal Navy years earlier than otherwise possible, making sure the UK stays ahead of our adversaries.

“Not only will this enhance the UK’s strategic advantage but also boost UK prosperity by supporting small and medium-sized companies like MSubs in Plymouth.”

The first phase of DASA’s Developing the Royal Navy’s Autonomous Underwater Capability programme, run jointly with the Royal Navy and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), will see an existing crewed submersible refitted with autonomous control systems.

If initial testing is successful, up to a further £1.5-million is available to further test the new capability making it the largest joint contract awarded as part of a DASA competition.

Paddy Dowsett from MSubs said: “We are thrilled to be awarded this contract through DASA, and have the opportunity to work with defence scientists and experts to develop new and advanced capabilities for the Royal Navy.

“This funding will allow the Royal Navy to better understand their future roles and for us to remain at the forefront of Extra Large Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (XLUUV) design and manufacture in Europe.”

Share this article

Follow Subsea World News

Events>

<< Mar 2020 >>
MTWTFSS
24 25 26 27 28 29 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5

9th Annual Submarine Power Cable and Interconnection Forum

This year’s Advance Submarine Power Cable and Interconnection conference will focus on the cutting edge thinking that is emerging across…

read more >

The 24th Annual PNEC Conference & Exhibition

The 24th annual PNEC Conference and Exhibition  will bring together the industry thought leaders and technology providers that enable the management…

read more >

OWI APAC 2020

Over the two-day conference, 30 expert speakers will share exclusive insight to help drive well work efficiencies through innovative…

read more >

M&CCE Expo Marine & Coastal Civil Engineering 2020

This conferences, events, demos, and competitions provide a productive background buzz throughout M&CCE…

read more >