Is this the end of submarines? Royal Navy is developing a 100ft underwater drone that no enemy can detect

  • World’s largest underwater drone is being developed by the Royal Navy
  • The revolutionary vessel will be piloted remotely from a submarine or ship 
  • Its stealth capability is based on its use of batteries rather than a nuclear reactor 

The Royal Navy is developing the world’s largest underwater drone – a 100ft submarine which top brass believe will prove undetectable in enemy waters.

The XLUUV – Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle – is currently being tested by British scientists in a move that could spell the end for crewed submarines which are noisier and therefore easier for enemy vessels to locate using sonar.

A nuclear-powered submarine costs the taxpayer £1.65 billion. Developers are confident that as many as 50 XLUUVs could be produced for the same price.

Naval chiefs hope the first XLUUVs could join the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet within five years. The XLUUV’s stealth capability is based on its use of batteries rather than a nuclear reactor or a heavy diesel engine which make more noise

The revolutionary vessel will be piloted remotely from a manned submarine or surface ship. It can also be programmed to follow a patrol pattern and spend up to three months beneath the waves. 

The Royal Navy drone will be almost double the length of the upcoming Boeing Orca XLUUV – four of which were purchased last year by the US Navy. The new vessel will also have a range of about 3,450 miles.

Paddy Dowsett, business development director of Plymouth-based MSubs Limited, which is building the drone, said: ‘Unmanned submarines will be an integral part of the future of maritime warfare. Because it is so much quieter, an unmanned sub can probe further into enemy waters without detection, increasing its chances of finding its adversary or collecting intelligence unhindered.’ 

The XLUUV’s stealth capability is based on its use of batteries rather than a nuclear reactor or a heavy diesel engine which make more noise. 

Currently, top brass do not intend it to carry weapons. Instead, the drone will identify enemy submarines before transmitting a signal to a manned Royal Navy vessel.

Naval chiefs hope the first XLUUVs could join the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet within five years. 

Last night, First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin said: ‘I am enormously excited about the potential for remotely piloted and autonomous systems to increase our reach and lethality, and reduce the number of people we have to put in harm’s way.’

The XLUUV – Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle – is currently being tested by British scientists in a move that could spell the end for crewed submarines (above) which are noisier and therefore easier for enemy vessels to locate using sonar

Source: Read Full Article