US Navy picks companies for unmanned undersea vehicle program

The US Navy’s Program Office Advanced Undersea Systems (PMS 394), with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), has selected three vendors to prototype and develop Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) platforms.


As explained, following an evaluation process, DIU awarded three prototype agreements to Oceaneering International, Kongsberg Discovery, and Anduril Industries.

These agreements highlight the importance of improving underwater capabilities, leveraging unmanned systems, and tackling present and future maritime dangers in a cost-effective and scalable manner, according to DIU.

The successful prototypes will enable future capabilities in SSW and USW missions. This project will also drive advancements in underwater engineering, autonomous systems, and communications, and shape the employment of LDUUV for future Naval operations. 

“NAVSEA, in partnership with the DIU, has selected the best in industry from industry to rapidly advance new undersea capabilities in the Subsea and Seabed Warfare domain,” said Capt. Grady Hill, program manager for PMS 394.

“We are accelerating our development plans by utilizing rapid contracting authorities to speed capability to the Fleet.”

Kongsberg Discovery has been awarded a contract to rapidly deliver HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) capabilities.

“HUGIN Endurance, one of the newest members in the HUGIN AUV family, is the biggest and most capable with its 39’ length, 47” diameter and 15-day endurance, enabling unsupervised shore-to-shore operations over a 1,200 nm range. HUGIN Superior, the workhorse of KONGSBERG’s HUGIN AUV family and the deep-water industry standard, is a 22’ long, 35” diameter, and 70-hour endurance vehicle,” Kongsberg revealed.

Both vehicles provide IPoE (Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment), MCM (Mine Counter Measure), SBW (Seabed Warfare), and seafloor mapping capabilities at delivery, according to Kongsberg.

Undersea warfare is critical to success in the Pacific and other contested environments, providing needed autonomous underwater sensing and payload delivery in dispersed, long-range, deep and contested environments is key. Crewed submarines are high-value, high-resource capital platforms necessary for crucial combat missions. In particular, the U.S. military requires a fleet of Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (LDUUVs) with diverse capabilities.  

One of the critical capability areas of the LDUUV effort is the need for long-endurance undersea craft that can deliver payloads and effectors against adversaries for Subsea and Seabed Warfare (SSW) as well as Undersea Warfare (USW) scenarios. To solve this, the U.S. Navy’s Program Office for Advanced Undersea Systems (PMS 394) partnered with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to identify commercial technology that delivers a potentially transformative effect in these maritime scenarios.