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US Navy to Deploy Submarine Drone Squadron by 2020

At the 2015 AUVSI Unmanned Systems Defense conference, US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that his branch plans to operate a fully deployable submarine drone squadron by the year 2020.

The drone fleet will feature the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV). Capable of being stowed and launched by Virginia-class submarines, Ohio-class submarines, and littoral combat ships (LCS), the LDUUV will boast increased payload, range, and endurance aptitudes.

“These systems are affordable and rapidly deployable worldwide. They’ve already been operational and served as critical enablers and game-changers for mine-hunting missions, such as those that will be conducted aboard [littoral combat ship]. We plan to deploy LDUUV from an exclusively UUV squadron on an independent mission by 2020,”
Secretary Mabus explained.

The Chief of US Naval Research Rear Admiral Mat Winter debuted the LDUUV in April of this year at the Navy League’s Sea, Air, and Space exposition.

“I am continuously amazed with the underwater breakthrough technologies in power, power generation, navigation, and sense and avoid. When people say, ‘I can’t see that happening. There’s no way that can be,’ I say, ‘Excellent! Put that on ONR’s list’,” stated Rear Admiral Winter.

Developed by the Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office, the LDUUV will participate in naval missions such as mine countermeasure and other reconnaissance and surveillance tasks.

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