Developing the Royal Navy’s autonomous underwater capability

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) multi-year themed competition is seeking proposals to develop an autonomous version of an existing large underwater vehicle.

A total of £2.5m is available to fund one project in a two-stage process comprising:

  • an initial research, design and re-fit stage
  • a subsequent testing and trialling stage. In this stage, it is expected that the system will be tested in representative environments for extended periods; the sea trials may be up to 2 years long.

The system will address the Royal Navy’s need to understand the utility and operational boundaries of an autonomously operating unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) system. In particular, DASA is looking for a flexible UUV capable of hosting different payloads / sensors which will be utilised in a range of testing scenarios. This range of tests will determine capability limits of a UUV, to assist in the development of future requirements and the design of future capabilities.

The total funding available is £1m for Stage 1 (research and development of an autonomous control system and re-fit of an existing manned submersible to implement this innovative autonomy); and a further £1.5m for Stage 2 (rent and testing of the novel autonomous functions of the submersible at a manufacturer-proposed operating base for up to 2 years). Tasking of Stage 2 is dependent on the success of the Stage 1 capability demonstrations.

The competition closes at midday (BST) on 11 June 2019. For full details of the competition click here.

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