A U.S. Navy official has said the service branch plans to issue this month a request for proposals for a program that seeks to develop a network of large underwater unmanned systems designed to function as communication tools, Defense News reported Tuesday.
Valerie Insinna writes Capt. Jon Rucker said at a briefing at the Surface Navy Association conference the competition for the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle program will cover design and construction of an open architecture-based system that can be integrated with various payloads.
He noted the XLUUV program aims to build underwater drones that will work to “deliver some offensive capability“ and that approximately 25 companies have showed interest to attend the industry day slated for Jan. 12, Insinna reports.
According to a request for information issued in September, the military branch wants an underwater drone with “a minimum height of 60 inches, minimum length of 125 inches and total volume of at least 325 cubic feet.“
Rucker added the Navy will initially pick two companies to carry out the design phase for up to 18 months and then choose a single firm that will develop the first five underwater drones, the report added.