Hydroid, Inc., a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime and the leading manufacturer of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), announced today that its contract to provide Littoral Battlespace Sensing (LBS) AUVs to the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has moved directly from the Engineering Development Model (EDM) phase to full rate production (FRP).
The decision to make the rare move from the EDM phase directly to FRP was made by the U.S. Navy's Milestone Decision Authority (MDA), the Navy's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), after more than a year of extensive testing and evaluation determined that Hydroid's LBS-AUV systems were ready for deployment. In response to the MDA's approval, SPAWAR has ordered the immediate production of three LBS AUVs (REMUS 600s) and one Shipset, including a launch and recovery system (LARS), a LARS flat rack, a mission van, a maintenance van and vehicle support equipment.
The AUVs ordered by SPAWAR will be equipped with advanced technologies for the collection of oceanographic and meteorological data, as well as technologies for processing and dissemination of these data. This technology will enable superior decision-making based on information collected by a system of networked sensors and shared through a network of interoperable Naval and Joint networks information systems. These on-board instruments will accurately catalogue a wide variety of environmental parameters, and provide environmental data that will play a critical role in supporting worldwide Navy requirements.
The ultimate end user of these AUVs is the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), which acquires and analyses global ocean and littoral data to provide operationally significant products and services to all elements within the Department of Defense.
"We're very pleased by the MDA's decision to grant us accelerated approval for FRP," said Christopher von Alt, President and co-founder of Hydroid. "We're grateful to our strong team of partners for their hard work to make this possible, including the program's sponsor, the Oceanographer of the Navy (CNO N2/N6E). We look forward to continuing this important work with PEO C4I and NAVOCEANO."
Hydroid's REMUS AUVs are modular and may be fitted with a large number of different types of sensors. They have been used to aid in hydrographic surveys, harbor security operations, debris field mapping, scientific sampling and mapping, as well as many basic and applied research programs funded by ONR, DARPA and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense. With over 200 vehicles in the field, Hydroid is currently the AUV market leader with systems in use by thirteen NATO and other navies around the world.