SEA trials its ASW solution aboard MSubs’ XLUUV platform

Independent systems engineering and software company Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) has completed another series of operational demonstrations of its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) solution aboard MSubs’ extra large uncrewed undersea vehicle (XLUUV) platform.

Credit: SEA

The trials of the ASW solution Krait Defence System took place off the coast of Plymouth after an initial integration phase with the vessel. The firm has already carried out a number of successful system trials on crewed and uncrewed surface platforms as well as autonomous vessels.

However, the company pointed out that this is its first trial that involved an extra-large submersible. This further stage of system maturation has helped trial partners understand the true performance of the integrated system and the benefits of hosting ASW capability on the XLUUV, according to SEA.

Post-mission recovery of the vessel was determined by DASA as one of the key challenges with deployment, and as part of the initial integration phase to define a low-risk launch and recovery process.

During the trial, it was confirmed that the 9-meter long XLUUV could be operated with a functional 150 meter thin-line towed KraitArray attached.

The team also ran an end-to-end system check, integrating with the submersible’s existing communications and sensor systems, which include position, time, speed and depth. The work has been performed to identify how data would be combined to provide a detailed acoustic profile of the underwater environment.

A pre-trial planning phase involved configuring a support vessel with a controlled target sound source, emulating submerged targets for the Krait Defence System to track and identify manoeuvres that the test vessel would perform in the water.

Chris Tucker, Sonar Product Technical Authority, said: “Uncrewed vessels are an area of rapid evolution, and as platforms become viable for operational use, we’re testing how our sensor technologies can be integrated with them … We are now in an important phase of in-water testing which will give us highly valuable information to guide future research and development.

“Separately, SEA has been involved in a number of industry research tasks to define important factors including data sharing and security.”

“Integrating the Krait Defence System with the XLUUV gave us invaluable information and experience for future, deeper physical and software integration of towed arrays with our growing fleet of underwater vehicles; that will allow us to better detect and deter subsea threats working as a low-cost force multiplier for RN forces,” Brett Phaneuf, Managing Director at MSubs, commented.

The trial also supports the future exploration and use of the Krait Defence System and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) for broader non-lethal missions including ASW, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and seabed warfare. It is carried out within a programme under the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), part of the UK Ministry of Defence