US Navy Demonstrates Large UUV Launch & Recovery System

The demonstration showed both a land-based launch and recovery approach and a new solution for launching large UUVs from amphibious ships By Caroline Rees / 29 Dec 2022
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HII has successfully demonstrated the launch and recovery of a large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) in collaboration with the US Navy.

Building on the success of a June 2022 demonstration where HII launched and recovered its large diameter UUV Proteus with its Pharos Large Launch and Recovery Vehicle (LLRV), HII entered into two separate Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City division and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, Rhode Island to further advance the capability to deploy unmanned vehicles from ships. 

Using HII’s Pharos system and an amphibious ship, the company’s Advanced Technology Group, comprising members from its Mission Technologies and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions, conducted a series of tests to ensure the system’s compatibility with the Navy’s Snakehead phase one Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV).

The tests demonstrated that Pharos can be adapted to a wide range of vehicles and that the 22,000-pound pull was within the existing capabilities of an LPD as operating in the Navy Fleet.

Navy’s Snakehead Phase 1 LDUUV inside the cradle of HII’s Pharos launch and recovery asset. (US Navy Photo)

“This is a great example of synergies within HII that accelerate the Navy’s vision for the future fleet,” said Chris Kastner. “I’m proud of the cross division teaming, plus the pace of progress of unmanned systems toward launch and recovery from an amphibious ship.” 

“These demonstrations validate a near term launch and recovery capability for the Pharos system,” said Todd Borkey, HII’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. “HII accelerates the transitioning of new technology into the customer’s mission, thus we are eager to enter the next phase of testing and demonstrate a launch and recovery from an LPD.”

The Pharos system began as a corporate independent research and development project. Ingalls Shipbuilding developed over 40 launch and recovery concepts from a mothership. These concepts were down-selected to the Pharos system with the objective of demonstrating the launch and recovery capability of an LDUUV from an LPD. Ingalls Shipbuilding and Mission Technologies took the Pharos concept and collaboratively designed, developed and constructed Pharos to enable the demonstrations.

HII’s Pharos and Navy’s Snakehead Phase 1 LDUUV being towed by a surface craft at the Narragansett Bay Test Facility at Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI. (US Navy Photo)
Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact