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Krait Defence System Integrated with Extra Large Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle for ASW Operations

18 May 2022

We have successfully completed another series of operational demonstrations of our Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) solution Krait Defence System, as part of a trial with an uncrewed submersible, which has proven the ability to deploy an ASW payload from an autonomous undersea vehicle. The trials fall within a programme under the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), part of the UK Ministry of Defence, and saw the Krait Defence System integrated with MSubs’ Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) platform – a 9m length uncrewed vessel.

The trials took place off the coast of Plymouth after an initial integration phase with the vessel. We have already carried out a number of successful Krait Defence System trials on crewed and uncrewed surface platforms as well as autonomous vessels, but this is its first trial which involved an extra-large submersible. This further stage of system maturation has helped trial partners understand the true performance of the integrated system and the benefits of hosting ASW capability on the XLUUV.

Post-mission recovery of the vessel was determined by DASA as one of the key challenges with deployment, and as part of the initial integration phase we worked with MSubs to define a low-risk launch and recovery process. During the trial, it was confirmed that the XLUUV could be operated with a functional 150m thin-line towed KraitArray attached. We also ran an end-to-end system check, integrating with the submersible’s existing communications and sensor systems - which include position, time, speed and depth – to identify how data would be combined to provide a detailed acoustic profile of the underwater environment.

A pre-trial planning phase involved configuring a support vessel with a controlled target sound source, emulating submerged targets for the Krait Defence System to track, and identify manoeuvres which the test vessel would perform in the water.

The trial also supports the future exploration and use of the Krait Defence System and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) for broader non-lethal missions including ASW, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and seabed warfare.

Chris Tucker, Sonar Product Technical Authority, said: “Uncrewed vessels are an area of rapid evolution, and as platforms become viable for operational use, we’re testing how our sensor technologies can be integrated with them to deliver leading-edge capability. The Krait Defence System is under test as an effective ASW sensor with a number of navies across the globe and we’ve demonstrated the ability to integrate it with MSubs’ uncrewed vessel out of the water.  We are now in an important phase of in-water testing which will give us highly valuable information to guide future research and development.

“Separately, SEA has been involved in a number of industry research tasks to define important factors including data sharing and security. We want to take advantage of the growing insight we have to continue evolving our capabilities to meet the operational needs of the future."

Brett Phaneuf, Managing Director at MSubs, said: “Integrating the Krait Defence System with the XLUUV gave us invaluable information and experience for future, deeper physical and software integration of towed arrays with our growing fleet of underwater vehicles; that will allow us to better detect and deter subsea threats working as a low-cost force multiplier for RN forces.”

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