L3Harris has developed and integrated a homing and docking device that enabled the successful launch and recovery of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) from an underway submarine.
L3Harris worked closely with the U.S. Navy, and is believed to be the first company to perform a Torpedo Tube Launch and Recovery (TTL&R) successfully, leveraging their proven Iver4 AUV technology.
The company wants to enable the TTL&R capability for real-world missions, as the ability to recover AUVs into underway submarines enables the host platform to remain covert while the AUV performs surveys and missions in inaccessible areas.
L3Harris’ AUV capabilities are designed to operate across multiple domains delivering relevant operational advantage in contested environments where manned operations could put sailors and submarines at risk. Its autonomous vehicles and vessels integrate state-of-the-art payloads to detect, track and hold the most challenging threats at risk.
AUVs return with high-fidelity data to be used for tactical and navigational planning and decision-making, delivering manned-unmanned teaming to the fleet. L3Harris’ previous proven capabilities and real-world maritime mission experience using AUVs demonstrate autonomy’s value to fill today’s operational maritime gaps.
The company demonstrated TTL&R through a challenging test program aboard submarines and Navy support vessels in response to “an urgent operational need”. This new capability will allow every SSN-class submarine to serve as an AUV mothership.
“We basically started with flashlights and a hoop to teach the vehicle to get into a torpedo tube with a very small (error) margin. From the time we started the project … to actually demonstrating (the capability from) a host in January of this year … took nothing short of a phenomenal team effort,” said Daryl Slocum, AUV Technology Director at L3Harris.