Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport in northwest Washington, already known as “Torpedo Town, U.S.A.,” is the home of the Navy’s first squadron of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs). The squadron, which began operating last October with 28 sailors and a handful of UUVs, is responsible for developing the tactics, techniques and procedures that will guide how the Navy uses the undersea vehicles, reports the Kitsap Sun. The unit’s UUVs range from 10-inch torpedo-shaped tubes to large submersibles more than 80 inches in diameter. Currently they are used to reduce the risk to divers and extend sensory capabilities for submarines, but UUVs’ capabilities are expected to expand.
One key difference between UUVs and their aerial counterparts is they cannot be controlled by an operator on the ground. They are essentially “pre-programmed, small submarines,” said Cmdr. Scott Smith, commanding officer of the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1. The squadron has grown quickly and now has 35 sailors and more than a dozen UUVs. By the fall of 2019, the number of personnel is projected to double.
Navy photo by MC2 Derek Harkins