Following the acquisition of Riptide Autonomous Solutions, BAE Systems has integrated next-generation capabilities into the Riptide unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), including state-of-the-art autonomy, navigation, communications, sensor processing and electronic warfare. The FAST Labs research and development arm of BAE Systems has utilised advanced hydrodynamics, ultra-low power processing, and new energy technology to create new underwater robotics solutions for a variety of applications, including surveillance, harbor protection, oil and gas survey, and mine countermeasures.
The Riptide family of UUVs currently includes three products: the 4.875” diameter (25 lbs.) micro, the 7.5″ diameter (65 to 120 lbs.) 1MP (man-portable) unit and the 9″ (9.375”) diameter (120 to 240 lbs.) 2MP. These efficient, and highly flexible platforms have been designed to operate at greater depth, at longer range, with more endurance, and at greater speed.
In the first year since acquisition of Riptide, BAE Systems has focused on integration and infrastructure milestones, including the following:
- A new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art prototype and production facility in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that greatly increases capacity for both vehicle development and personnel focused on the Riptide product line
- Development of standard, mission-focused system configurations that satisfy BAE’s broad customer base while continually enhancing vehicle quality, reliability and repeatability
- System demonstrations – within just a few months of the acquisition, the team demonstrated an integrated solution at ANTX (Advanced Naval Technology Exercise) 2019, pairing BAE’s advanced autonomy and radio frequency technology with the recently acquired platform and showcasing the ease of integration and the ability to transition previously used air-domain technology into an undersea application
- Maturing of early prototypes into production-ready systems
To date, the Micro UUV has been enhanced with new feature functionality, and prototypes have been completed for both the 1MP and 2MP UUVs. BAE has also developed the first prototype of a new 6000 meter rated UUV, which is designed to take on missions unprecedented for the small class of UUVs, reducing the barriers to accessing the deep ocean.
Dr. John Hogan, director of the Sensor Processing and Exploitation group at BAE Systems, commented: “As joint all-domain operations become the Department of Defense’s (DoD) operational norm, there is increased need for undersea platforms capable of integrating key payload and autonomy technology. In the time since the acquisition was announced, we have made tremendous technology and integration progress that positions us to serve our DoD customer base as well as commercial, research and development, and educational organizations to affordably and expertly explore under the sea.”