Raytheon to build unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) with explosive warhead to destroy or disable ocean mines

June 20, 2023
The Barracuda UUV is a semi-autonomous, expendable mine neutralizer system that measures about three feet long and five inches in diameter.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy counter-mine warfare experts needed a small unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) mine neutralizer able to destroy or disable enemy ocean mines at safe distances from Navy vessels and personnel. They found their solution from the Raytheon Technologies Corp. Missiles & Defense segment in Portsmouth, R.I.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a $25.5 million order to Raytheon Missiles & Defense on 1 June to manufacturer Barracuda Mine Neutralization Systems.

Barracuda is a modular, low cost, semi-autonomous, expendable mine neutralizer about the size of a Navy air-launched sonobuoy, or about three feet long and five inches in diameter.

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Raytheon won an $83.3 million contract in April 2018 to design, test and deploy the Barracuda mine neutralization system -- an expendable, autonomous UUV to identify and neutralize bottom, near-surface, and drifting sea mines. That contract has options that could bring its value to $362.7 million.

A mine neutralizer is a small UUV, typically with an explosive warhead, which navigates to the known location of an ocean mine located on the water's surface, tethered to the bottom, or attached to the ocean bottom. Once the neutralizer reaches the mine, it blows itself up, taking the mine with it.

The Navy is deploying Barracuda from the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) -- an unmanned motorboat that deploys from the Navy's littoral combat ship. Barracuda uses wireless communications for tetherless operation from the CUSV, and in the future may be deployed from Navy sonobuoy launchers aboard helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft.

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Navy officials are using the Barracuda as part of the littoral combat ship's mine countermeasure mission package, deployed from the CUSV. The Navy also will use the Barracuda at shore-based mine countermeasure operations to perform fleet training.

Barracuda conducts neutralization operations from the surface through deep water during the day or night. On this order Raytheon will do the work in Portsmouth, R.I., and McAlester, Okla., and should be finished by June 2025.

For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

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