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Bluefin to build UUV for NRL to help Navy develop low-frequency broadband technology

QUINCY, Mass.-Marine scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington needed unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to assist in the development of low-frequency broadband (LFBB) payload technology and to support basic and applied research in undersea warfare. They found their needed solution at UUV specialist Bluefin Robotics in Quincy, Mass.

Unmanned vehicles designers at Bluefin Robotics will produce for NRL a variation of the Knifefish UUV, which the company is developing for the U.S. Navy Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (SMCM UUV) program. Bluefin is under subcontract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for the SMCM UUV project.

Bluefin completed the preliminary design review earlier this year for Knifefish-a specialized version of the Bluefin-21 UUV-and will capitalize on that design to deliver a UUV to NRL, Bluefin officials say.

Bluefin's technology has been proven suitable for specialized acoustic payloads, such as NRL's LFBB sonar, company officials say. For the past 10 years, engineers from Bluefin and NRL have worked on developing and fielding the Reliant UUV, a Bluefin-21 used as a science and technology system for the original LFBB development.

Navy researchers will use a version of the Knifefish UUV from Bluefin Robotics for low-frequency broadband development.
Navy researchers will use a version of the Knifefish UUV from Bluefin Robotics for low-frequency broadband development.

"The science made possible with this vehicle will advance the nation's mine-hunting capabilities that can be incorporated into future generations of UUVs," says Dr. Brian Houston, acting head of NRL's Physical Acoustics branch.

The UUV that Bluefin Robotics engineers are developing for NRL will feature two-way Iridium satellite communications, specialized sensors, and empty sections for acoustic payloads such as a towed receiver array, and a reacquisition capability. Bluefin also will deliver topside support equipment and graphical-user interface software tools.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Bluefin Robotics online at www.bluefinrobotics.com, and the Naval Research Laboratory at www.nrl.navy.mil.


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