Long-range robotic submarine sweeps the waters for days at a time
It may look like a fat torpedo, but there's more than meets the eye with HII's newly unveiled REMUS 620 medium-class naval Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, which is an autonomous robotic submarine that combines artificial intelligence with an operational range of 275 nm (316 mi, 509 km).
Undersea drones have come a long way from the days when they were basically motorized television eyes operated by remote control at the end of a tether. Today, these machines are becoming increasingly sophisticated with a growing range of capabilities that may one day not only see submarines deploying and recovering drones routinely, but could find conventional warships relegated to command centers overseeing robotic submarine fleets.
Based on HII's REMUS 300 UUV, the medium-class sized REMUS 620 is designed to support both current and predicted US Navy and special forces operations thanks to an improved battery system with a life of 110 hours. This not only provides the REMUS 620 with longer mission times, but enough range to ferry itself to and from its operational sites. Potential missions include mine countermeasures, hydrographic surveys, intelligence operations, surveillance, and electronic warfare.
The REMUS 620 boasts a modular open architecture and incorporates HII's Odyssey autonomy suite that provides the drone with artificial intelligence, autonomous health monitoring, and sensor fusion and perception, as well as the ability to collaborate with other robotic vehicles.
In addition, the modular design allows the batteries to be quickly swapped for fast turnaround times or to incorporate alternative energy sources. The standard synthetic aperture sonar unit can also be replaced or augmented to suit mission requirements.
According to HII, the REMUS 620 can be launched from submarines, small crewed or uncrewed boats, amphibious ships, surface warships, and helicopters. It can also deploy robotic craft and payloads of its own while underwater.
"Retaining a forward strategic advantage requires the ability to deliver a multitude of effects from under the sea," said Duane Fotheringham, president of HII's Mission Technologies’ Unmanned Systems business group. "The REMUS 620 is the first medium UUV designed to accurately deliver this range of advanced above-and-below water effects at long range."