Navy asks Hydroid to upgrade MK 18 unmanned underwater vehicle
BY John Keller
INDIAN HEAD, Md. — Unmanned
underwater vehicle (UUV) experts
at Hydroid Inc. in Pocasset, Mass.,
will upgrade the company’s MK
18 family of unmanned submersibles under terms of a $27.3 million contract.
Officials of the Naval Surface
Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian
Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Technology Division in Indian Head,
Md., are asking Hydroid for additional engineering to develop, test,
and install preplanned product
improvements for the MK 18 family
of unmanned underwater vehicle
Preplanned product improvement, also called P3I, involve
periodic systems and technology
upgrades during development to
enhance system performance or
mitigate the effects of subsystem or
The Navy Hydroid MK 18 UUV
is a variant of the Hydroid REMUS
600, which Hydroid originally
developed through funding from
the Office of Naval Research (ONR)
in Arlington, Va., to support the
Navy’s UUVs with extended endurance, increased payload capacity,
and greater operating depth. REMUS
is short for Remote Environmental
Measuring Unit S.
The Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV
can perform low-visible exploration and reconnaissance in support of amphibious landing; mine
countermeasures operations such
as search, classification, mapping,
reacquire, and identification; and
hydrographic mapping at depths
from 10 to 40 feet.
The UUV can navigate via acoustic transponders in long-baseline
or ultra-short-baseline mode, or
via P-coded GPS. Its upward- and
downward-looking acoustic digital
velocity log improves dead-reckon-ing accuracy.
The MK 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV
achieved full operational capabilities in 2008. Follow-on block
upgrades will combine two separate
UUV programs into the MK 18 family of systems to deliver improved
detection capability against buried
mines in high clutter environments.
The REMUS 600, on which the
MK 18 UUV is based, can dive to
depths of nearly 2,000 feet, and
can operate on one battery charge
for as long as 24 hours. The UUV is
for mine countermeasures; harbor security; debris field mapping;
search and salvage; scientific sampling and mapping; hydrographic
surveys; environmental monitoring;
and fishery operations.
The torpedo-shaped REMUS 600
UUV is nearly 13 feet long and two
feet in diameter. The unit weighs
622 pounds. It has dynamic focus
side look sonar (SLS), a Neil Brown
conductivity and temperature sensor (CT), WET Labs beam attenuation meter (BAM) optical sensor,
Imagenex 852 pencil beam sonar for
obstacle avoidance, and a WET Labs
ECO fluorometer and turbidity measurement sensor.
Its communications suite consists of a long baseline acoustic
communications, Wi-Fi, Iridium
satellite communications, and radio
modem via gateway buoy. The UUV
navigates by up- and down-looking
acoustic Doppler current profiler;
Doppler velocity log; Kearfott
inertial navigation unit; compass; and GPS.
The REMUS 600 has a modular design to meet a variety of
payloads. The UUV has a series
of hull sections that can be separated for vehicle reconfiguration,
maintenance, and shipping. IT
uses the Hydroid Vehicle Interface
Program (VIP) for maintenance,
checkout, mission planning, and
Hydroid will do the work in
Pocasset, Mass., and should be finished by November 2018.
Hydroid is a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime AS in Kongsberg,
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit
Hydroid online at www.km.kongsberg.
com/hydroid, and the NSWC Indian
Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Technology Division at www.navy.
Hydroid is upgrading the Navy MK 18
unmanned submersibles to enhance system
performance and mitigate the effects of
subsystem or component obsolescence.