New Wave Media

August 4, 2023

First AUV Launched from a Moving Submarine

(Image: L3Harris)

(Image: L3Harris)

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has been launched from a moving submarine in what is said to be a world first.

U.S.-based tech company L3Harris said it worked with industry partners to develop and integrate what it calls a Torpedo Tube Launch and Recovery (TTL&R) solution, a homing and docking solution that enables fully autonomous launch and recovery of AUVs from submarines that are underway.

“We basically started with flashlights and a hoop to teach the vehicle to get into a torpedo tube with a very small (error) margin,” said Daryl Slocum, AUV Technology Director at L3Harris. “From the time we started the project … to actually demonstrating (the capability from) a host in January of this year … took nothing short of a phenomenal team effort.”

L3Harris said it worked closely with the U.S. Navy to demonstrate the technology aboard submarines and Navy support vessels using its Iver4 AUV. 

Increasingly, the Navy is working with industry partners to integrate autonomous vehicle and vessel technologies to minimize manned operations that could put sailors at risk.

L3Harris said the ability to recover AUVs into an underway submarine enables the host platform to remain covert in safe waters while the AUV is launched to perform surveys and missions in areas that the host platform can’t go. AUVs return with high-fidelity data to be used for tactical and navigational planning and decision-making, delivering manned-unmanned teaming to the fleet.

According to L3Harris, the new capability will increase operational effectiveness and allow every SSN-class submarine to serve as an AUV mothership.

“We were able to accomplish something the Navy has been trying to do for (many) years in response to an urgent operational need,” Slocum said.

Related: Teledyne Slocum Glider Deployed from US Navy Helicopter 

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