and software systems to deal with casualty and damage detection, control, correction, and recovery.

UUVs and UAVs will go beyond just serving as off-board sensor platforms. Some will be capable of long-term independent operations. Others will combine sophisticated target detection, classification, and tracking capability with maneuvering and weapons-launch capability to serve as semiautonomous and possibly autonomous strike or fleet defense platforms. Those serving as off-board sensors will possess all-weather autonomous launch-and-recovery capability, with the mother platform able to provide automated logistics support.

Platforms, UUVs and UAVs, and weapons will enjoy the benefits of continuously available position information to 1 m or less accuracy from small, inexpensive integrated GPS/INS navigators. Sophisticated adaptive mission planning/replanning processors and ATR software on board these semiautonomous vehicles and weapons will support obstacle avoidance and mission restructuring in real time.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

Description of the Technology

Unmanned underwater vehicle technology is actually a combination of a number of emerging technologies that can provide the naval forces with new operational capabilities in undersea warfare, reconnaissance, and surveillance. During the latter days of the Cold War, UUVs were envisioned as force multipliers for the blue-water antisubmarine warfare (ASW) mission, including mobile acoustic barrier patrol, off-board active acoustic sources, deep-water mine avoidance for submarines, and tactical aids for port egress. Although considerable research was undertaken and a number of operational demonstrations were conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the blue-water ASW problem was perceived to disappear before any operational UUVs were deployed. In the post- Cold War era, potential UUV missions have centered on undersea littoral warfare, including shallow-water mine reconnaissance, diesel submarine ASW, surveillance, and counterproliferation. The Department of the Navy has just started an acquisition program for the first operational UUV, the long-term mine reconnaissance system (LMRS), which is a submarine-launched and submarine-recovered countermine system.

Relevance to the Naval Forces

UUVs can conduct a series of primary and support missions to extend the fleet's warfighting capability, provide surveillance and reconnaissance functions, and conduct tactical oceanographic missions. UUVs not only provide increased mission capability but also should not add significantly to operational costs, since

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement