Deployment of the "Snakehead" Extra-Large Unmanned Udnerwater Vehicle is being speeded up.Richard Burgess, Seapower Magazine
3 April 2017
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Navy expects to award a development contract for the Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) this year with the initial mission focus of mine warfare, a Navy official said.
“By the end of 2017 we expect to award [a contract],” said Howard Berkof, deputy program manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, speaking to reporters at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition.
The long-endurance XLUUV will be a UUV too large to be carried by a platform such as a submarine or a littoral combat ship, for example, compared with the smaller Large-Diameter UUV (LDUUV), which will be able to operate from those platforms. The XLUUV will be able to deploy independent of another platform.
The LDUUV — the Snakehead — is being developed by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., which is the government system integrator.
Berkof said the LDUUV program “was recently designated for accelerated acquisition … to get it into the water as quickly as possible,” the goal of which is 2019. He said the XLUUV is not an accelerated program, “but we’re following a similar model” as with the LDUUV.
Potential missions for the XLUUV include strike, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, mine countermeasures, mining, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, Berkof said.