The Royal Navy Wants Robotic Submarines (Here's Why That Matters)

David Axe

David Axe

Security,

And Russia will hate it. 

The Royal Navy Wants Robotic Submarines (Here's Why That Matters)

The U.K. Ministry of Defense in April 2019 launched a $3.3-million competition to begin developing a large, robotic submarine.

The contest could lead to the acquisition of an operational autonomous sub for the Royal Navy -- and could help the British fleet partially to fill the undersea gap resulting from deep cuts to its sub force.

The ministry asked industry by June 2019 to submit proposals for an extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle, or XLUUV.

“The Royal Navy says that contract will have two stages, a one-year long research, design and refit stage and a testing and trialing stage,” U.K. Defense Journal explained. “In the latter stage it is expected that the system will be tested in representative environments for extended periods; the sea trials in stage two may be up to two years long.”

The government’s request for proposals sketched three different operational scenarios for the possible, future robo-sub.

In the covert intelligence-gathering role, the XLUUV “is tasked to gather covert intelligence of traffic transiting in a maritime operational area,” according to the RFP.

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