USN Signs Hydroid Contract for Mine-Countermeasures UUVs
In October 2013, Kongsberg Defence subsidiary Hydroid, Inc., of Pocasset, MA received a maximum $36.5 million, 5-year, sole-source award for its unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) from the US Navy’s Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division in Indian Head, MD. They’ll be buying 2 types of UUVs.
Hydroid’s smaller MK18 MOD1 Swordfish UUVs are based on the REMUS 100 UUV. It possesses a small side-scan sonar, but its scan, resolution, and buried target detection don’t match the Kingfish. It’s also used for basic hydrographic profiling, however, which is a very useful as a baseline before mine countermeasures work begins.
Their MK18 MOD 2 Kingfish UUVs are typically used for mine countermeasures work, and are typically launched from ships, but they can also be hand-launched by teams in 11m RHIBs. They were deployed to the Persian Gulf earlier this year in response to Iranian threats, and replaced their smaller MK18 MOD1 Swordfish counterparts at that time. They’re based on the REMUS 600 UUV, with a Small Synthetic Aperture Sonar Module (SSAM) configuration that provides wider sonar swath scan, higher resolution imagery, and buried target detection.
Both of these UUVs are currently contractor-operated, but the US Navy does intend to begin operating them itself by 2015. They probably could be loaded onto a Littoral Combat Ship as an interim measure, ahead of the planned 2017 in-service date for Bluefin Robotics’ Knifefish SMCM mine-countermeasures UUV. Sources: GSN, “Navy to buy more unmanned underwater vehicles for mine countermeasures work” | See also ongoing developments around LCS & MH-60S mine counter-measures for a wider overview.