The British government has started a submarine competition which will help them in testing large unmanned submarine’s ability to gather intelligence and perform other roles. The Ministry of Defense has made an announcement on April 16th saying that it will provide 2.5 million Euros got the winning bidder to design, refit the existing platform and trial the utility of extra large unmanned underwater vehicles which are also known as XLUUVs.
Another 2 million Euros would be going to the trials if the cash strapped MoD can find the required funds. This three-year effort will include researching for one year, designing and refitting the vehicle at first stage followed by a two-year program to test the large unmanned submarine’s ability to undertake a series of roles. This announcement has specifically mentioned the covert intelligence gathering, anti-submarine warfare, deployment, and recovery of senses.
The idea of British to explore XLUUVs and their usage came weeks after the US Navy awarded Boeing a deal to fabricate, test and deliver four powerful unmanned submarines.
The Orca hasn’t mentioned any kind of specifications. The basic idea of what the British Ministry of Defense looking for is a 51 feet long and 50 tons of weight, an ability to operate until 11,000 feet depth. It is also expecting a maximum speed of 8 knots.
This three-year effort is a part of the cross-government Defense and Security accelerator program which is aiming to quickly find and fund the exploitable innovations while supporting the prosperity of the UK. The bids are due by June 11, and MoD is hoping to have the winner begin work in August most probably.
This competition is a part of the Royal Navy’s effort in order to shape cutting edge capabilities in maritime autonomous systems sector for future operations.