The USS North Dakota returned to the United States after a nearly two-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. The submarine performed testing of the launch and recovery of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) while submerged, media reported.
The underwater drone launched from the USS North Dakota is a REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle; though, the commanding officer declined to explain whether the UUV was self-guided or piloted by a crew member.
Designed through funding from the Office of Naval Research, the REMUS 600 is made after the REMUS 100 UUV, built by the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Maritime defense contractor.
It can be deployed for a wide range of missions including mine counter measure, harbor security, and search and salvage operations, wrote Franz-Stefan Gady for The Diplomat.
Piloting an underwater drone is technically quite tough since communicating with UUVs is extremely difficult as the oceans are opaque to radio signals and acoustic signals travel a lot more slowly than radio waves.
Consequently, UUVs will have to operate almost completely autonomously.
“The US Navy is testing and developing a number of different underwater drones and has made available a ‘significant’ amount of money for the expansion of its UUV fleet in the Pentagon’s 2016 defense budget,” Gady added.