November 17, 2015

"Late last month, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus appointed Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley to become the first deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for unmanned systems, a position that was created in April."

RoboHub “The change to the organization is a reflection of the priority we’re placing on this emerging capability,” Secretary Mabus said in a speech at the Unmanned Systems Defense 2015 conference on October 27. by Dan Gettinger

'Kelley will be responsible for a variety of programs ranging from the high-flying Triton surveillance drone to experimental projects like the Navy’s fleet of swarming patrol boat drones. The new deputy secretary will also be overseeing drones that plumb the depths of the oceans. The development of torpedo-like submarine drones, also known as unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) or autonomous undersea vehicles (AUV), is a major priority for the Navy. These drones, some of which could potentially remain submerged for months at a time, will serve in a variety of roles including surveillance and mine-hunting. At the Unmanned Systems Defense 2015 conference, Secretary Mabus said that the Navy is aiming to launch a squadron of autonomous UUVs by 2020 that can operate independently from manned vessels.

'According to the Autonomous Undersea Vehicle Applications Center, a non-profit industry advocacy organization, there are 251 unique configurations of UUVs in service today, including 144 different vehicle platforms. That number is likely to grow in the coming years as the technology improves.

'The development of ingenious new unmanned systems like Boeing’s hybrid UUV and UAV Rapid Deployment Air and Water Vehicle shows that the technology is progressing quickly. However, as a thorough 2009 RAND study of UUV systems pointed out, some of the Navy’s proposed UUV missions were not practicable and remained out of reach. Issues with reliability, specifically within the realms of underwater communications and propulsion, suggests that the technology has yet to mature. The controversy over the Remote Minehunting System is one example of how the Navy has struggled to develop an adequate countermine alternative to minesweepers. While UUVs present significant advantages in terms of cost and safety over manned platforms, it will be some years before UUVs are accepted into the fleet.'

ARTICLE: "What You Need to Know About Underwater Drones"

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