Mini Robosub Joins the U.S. Navy
March 15, 2006: The U.S. Navy has successfully tested an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV), operating from a submerged nuclear attack submarine (SSN). The UUV is the AN/BLQ-11 long-term mine reconnaissance system (LMRS), which contains sonars that enable it to search for naval mines, or anything else. In effect the LMRS can scout ahead for the SSN, or simply search an area. The LMRS is about the size of a torpedo, and is launched and recovered via a torpedo tube. The LMRS can operate up to 135 (eventually over 200) kilometers from the submarine. Cruising speed is about 7 kilometers an hour, with a top speed of 12 kilometers an hour. It can operate from ten to 200 feet beneath the surface. In addition to GPS , the LMRS has several sonar system, acoustic communications and other electronic gear. The UUV is battery powered and uses a thrust-vectored pumpjet for movement and maneuvering. Previous UUVs were wire (fibre optic cable) controlled, while LMRS can carry out missions by itself. Each LMRS costs more than the most expensive torpedo (in other words, over five million dollars.) The navy plans to buy at least a dozen.
Sub Committee Member #2721