Mabus: Unmanned Systems Key to Future of Navy

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  1. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Mabus: Unmanned Systems Key to Future of Navy
    http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1999


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    Unmanned systems will continue to be a priority for the Navy as the service makes key investments in air, ground, surface and undersea drones, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said Oct. 27.

    “As we look to the future, unmanned systems are will continue to be a viable and growing area of our military and our capabilities,” he said during the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual defense conference in Arlington, Virginia.

    Earlier this year, Mabus announced the creation of a new deputy assistant secretary position for unmanned systems as well as a new directorate within the office of the chief of naval operations for such systems.

    “The change to the organization is a reflection of the priority that we’re placing on this emerging capability and how critical it is that we have cohesive leadership for unmanned programs,” Mabus said.

    It is his goal to drive a “deliberate and thoughtful” strategy to create new systems, he said.

    The commercial sector is rapidly developing cutting edge drones, he noted. Such technology in the hands of adversaries could be dangerous, and the United States must be able to respond, he said. “As a military force, we absolutely cannot afford to lose in this realm.”

    Interoperability among these systems is essential going forward, he noted. “As this technology becomes more complex and widespread, ensuring that we can manage these technologies across different domains, maintaining that superiority in all those domains and sometimes multiple domains … becomes absolutely critical.”

    Mabus asked industry to help the service in its effort to develop compatible systems.

    “Our unmanned systems will be successful only if they’re developed to be interoperable, to be modular, to have open architecture, to address the complexities of operating autonomously and the advancement of systems that can operate across multiple domains,” he said.

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    During his remarks, Mabus showed off a quadcopter known as the Kraken, a reference to the mythical sea monster that terrified sailors centuries ago. The system, which is low-cost and 3D-printed, can lurk underwater for long periods of time and then “pop up” when instructed to do so, he said. “It’s pretty cool,” he added.

    The Navy will need systems that can be used in multiple domains in future operations, he said.

    Mabus also stressed the need for low-cost and expendable systems that could penetrate a hostile environment.

    Additionally, the Navy is examining how it can increase the endurance of unmanned underwater vehicles. “Our UUVs need to be able to stay out for months at a time allowing them to observe large areas for a long period [of time] without interruption and without degradation,” he said.

    Mabus pointed to the Office of Naval Research’s large-displacement unmanned undersea vehicle as one example of work the service is doing in increasing UUV endurance. ONR leaders have said they want the system to be able to operate undersea for decades.

    The Navy plans to deploy LDUUVs from an exclusive unmanned undersea vehicle squadron on an independent mission no later than 2020, Mabus said.
     
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  2. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    ACTUV Sea Trials Set for Early 2016
    http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20151028-actuv.html
    By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

    ARLINGTON, Va. — The unmanned surface vessel designed to track and trail submarines is expected to begin builder’s trials in January or February.

    The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUCV), under development by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), also is being eyed for other tasks, Scott Littlefield, program manager of its DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said Oct. 27 during the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference.

    “The Navy is considering using this [the ACTUV] for a variety of missions,” Littlefield said, including mine countermeasures.

    He said using the ACTUV would cost about $15,000 to $20,000 per day, compared with a destroyer that costs about $700,000 per day to operate. He said that other advantages of the ACTUV concept include greater payload and endurance than a ship-launched unmanned surface vehicle, the ability to launch from and recover at a pier, and the elimination of the need to integrate the system with a ship.

    The 132-foot-long, 140-ton ACTUV is being built by Leidos at the Vigor Shipyard [formerly Oregon Iron Works] in Clackamas, Ore. The vessel is about 90 percent complete. The hardware of the systems is complete, with software being engineered presently.

    Testing of the command-and-control and navigation systems has been conducted using a 40-foot workboat. A challenge of an unmanned vessel operating safely is compliance with International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

    “Generally, we’re there,” Littlefield said, saying that the system “generally meets expectations.”
    The main challenge, he said, is producing a vessel that “is about as reliable as a vessel operated by experienced mariners.”

    DARPA plans to conduct testing of the ACTUV and its systems for two years from Point Loma in San Diego, Littlefield said.
     
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    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Navy: Large Undersea Unmanned Vehicle Request for Proposals Due Soon
    http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20151028-lduuv.html
    By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

    ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy plans to issue a request for proposals for development of the Large-Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) within the next two months. The service also plans to deploy a squadron of LDUUVs by 2020.

    The LDUUV is conceived as an underwater “truck,” with a common front-end control section and aft-end battery-powered propulsion section, with a modular bay amidships that can carry a variety of payloads, CAPT David Honabach, the Navy’s program manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, told an audience at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference Oct. 27.

    The autonomous LDUUV is to be designed to be launched and recovered from a submarine or a littoral combat ship (LCS) and perform such missions as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and the deployment of fixed or mobile sensors. It will be designed to operate for long periods of time at long distances.

    The Navy used the LDUUV “to develop and demonstrate technologies needed for increased sub-surface endurance and autonomy,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, in prepared remarks for the symposium. “These systems are affordable and rapidly deployable worldwide. They’ve already been operational and served as critical enablers and game-changers for mine-hunting missions, such as those that will be conducted aboard LCS. We plan to deploy LDUUVs from an exclusively UUV squadron on an independent mission by 2020.”

    RADM Mathias W. Winter, chief of naval research, also speaking at the symposium, said that the LDUUV was an example of technology that originated in the lab and made a successful transition and into a program and did not “remain on the shelf.”

    “Nobody asked for an LDUUV or a laser cannon,” Winter said, noting that it is an example of the push-pull dynamic between the fleet and the research and development community.
     
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