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QinetiQ unveils Sea Scout UUV

by Kris Osborn on May 17, 2013

sea scout in waterTAMPA — QinetiQ North America unveiled a lightweight, air-launched prototype Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) engineered with three flexible antennas and the ability to accommodate two separate sensor payloads, company officials explained May 14 at the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here.

“It is designed to be deployed from a sonobuoy launch container which can drop from a SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter or a P-8 [Poseidon surveillance plane]. Also, this has the ability to pivot vertically and expose antennas above the surface while using its motor to maintain stability,” said Carl Carlson, Sea Scout business development manager, QinetiQ.

The antennas are able to receive a GPS signal, he added.

The Sea Scout UUV can travel at speeds up to 15 knots and travel for up to 8 hours at slower speeds. The Sea Scout’s propulsion is built around a seawater flooded motor with a high-power handling capability, according to QinetiQ’s fact sheet on the system.

“This is designed to have two different payloads in the nose. Power and signal connections for two separate payload connections are provided,” he added.

The idea is to have an air or water– launched UUV able to go underwater and use various sensor technologies for Anti-Submarine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures down to depths of 200 meters beneath the surface.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ May 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

A torpedo-tube launchable version would allow surface ships to deploy their UUV's from afar, mitigating the need for an LCS to serve as a drone mothership.

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h2osausage May 17, 2013 at 6:50 pm

sounded like they have tube launched as well

>>>>The idea is to have an air or water– launched UUV

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blight_ May 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm

True, but the LCS has no torpedo tube provisions and is somehow controlling UUV's. I imagine they are launched by kicking them off the fan-tail like an RHIB, which presents a torpedo-tube-free form factor for deployinjg UUV's.

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FormerDirtDart May 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

The thing is like three feet long. A guy could throw one over the side with little effort.
Basically, it's a mobile sonobouy. I would assume they can deploy them from damn near every Navy vessel, and ASW aircraft

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blight_ May 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

It's clear I have no military background, since I had to check the product brochure to know the sonobuoy dimensional specs:
https://www.qinetiq-na.com/wp-content/uploads/201

"Sea Scout’s size conforms to the A-size sonobuoy form factor (4.875” diameter by 36” length)."

That said, this particular model is designed to be deployed at a distance from sea assets by aircraft. But for ships to deploy their own USV/UUV clouds, they'd need a fast way to launch them outside of the helicopter.

I suppose for LCS they could be chucked over the side to achieve our promised drone mothership.

@GreensboroVet May 27, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Good. Let the Nuke subs sit back off shore and send this inshore to find and target the electric subs.

USS ENTERPRISE May 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Well. Looks kinda like a scuba tank with props. Pretty simple design. But dang. We have unmanned machines in the air, land, and sea. Also space, (Voyager). Who knows what is next.

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Lance May 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

And apart from espionage, is this better than sonar why?????

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yogiberra111 May 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

1. Ship or sub borne sonar reveals the position of the ship or sub and renders it more vulnerable to attack. Better to lose a uuv than a manned and very expensive ship or sub. 2. The uuv can maneuver and do so for up to 8 hours. It also uses gps positioning. This would be very useful in sub hunting and, again, puts no people or expensive assets at risk. Same advantages as uav's only under water.

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John May 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

You mean apart from the fact that one costs $10,000 and the other costs $2 billion?

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EW3 May 19, 2013 at 12:17 am

Who said anything about sonar?
Because it is launched from a sonobuoy does not mean it has active sonar.

Traditional sonobuoys did not have much flexibility. They stayed where they landed. These look like they can increase the search area. The older sonobuoys did not have GPS capability or much communication capability (simple UHF).

This brings them into the 21st century.

And most importantly it gives us a capability that will further confound our enemies which is always a good thing.

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SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:28 am

Well. Looks kinda like a scuba tank with props. Pretty simple design. But dang. We have unmanned machines in the air, land, and sea. Also space, (Voyager). Who knows what is next.

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Morrison October 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I ask this.
1. What acoustic signature does it have in relation to actual submarines?
a. If these are misclassified by sensor operators, there will be casualties.
b. Potential to misdirect ASW efforts during a war game or during an actual engagement.
c. acoustic analysis needs to performed and training needs to be put out specifically cornered toward ASW operators on recognition, and if needed omission of acoustic sources.

an operators humble opinion

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Albert Enstien May 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

we know can build easy many and more then one more I think

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Fuse May 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I read the same Bloomerg. If true Qinetiq North America has been totally compromised by Chinese hackers. Anything they do is already in the hands of the PRC. I suspect this is true of most defense contractors Us and abroad

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blight_ May 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

This is why you can't outsource your IT to India or whoeverthehell. Nor can you be lazy and sit behind routers and presume yourself to be safe.

Of course, real security cuts into profit, and these companies probably don't care as long as the US of A pays for their R&D and throws them enough millions to please the board of directors and the investors. Not interested in better security, thankyouverymuch.

I read an article on (El Reg?) that the US government is the biggest customer of operating system exploits, and hoards them for zero-day attacks. And because there's no incentive to report these holes, the holes stay open for others to find and use.

And there's a good chance that a hacker who finds an exploit can sell it to the US government for zero day attacks *and* the PRC. And since the government doesn't have enough people writing code to patch exploits (and certainly won't tell commercial vendors about these exploits!) the contractors and the US government itself are open to attack, all because the US government wants cyberattack options instead of finding the exploits and getting them patched within government and commercially.

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che wing May 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I like your words

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EW3 May 19, 2013 at 12:09 am

Of interest is that the P-8 can carry 120 sonobuoys.
For a littoral mission it could salt several channels and provide intel about what's going on.

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Hammer6 May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

As Army retired an a fan of Massachusetts defense tech, I was saddened by the Bloomberg article. You offer a very interesting analysis, suggesting lots of people involved have incentives to not address cybersecurity gaps. If you are correct, our technology continues to leak – and our potential competitors gain at our expense.

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blight_ May 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm

My TL;Got Deleted post will be shortened.

In short, our cyberattack and cyberdefense are built on a foundation of exploits. These are discovered or opened from time to time, and the time between discovery and closure by the vendor issuing security updates are the "target window".

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