Penn State wins contracts worth $1.8 billion to develop enabling technologies in unmanned undersea vehicles

Jan. 13, 2023
Research will involve guidance, navigation, and control; thermal propulsion; fluid machinery; and materials technology and manufacturing.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy undersea warfare experts have awarded contracts collectively worth more than $1.8 billion to Penn State University to investigate guidance, navigation, propulsion, and materials for future unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for a variety of reconnaissance and attack missions.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a $735 million order in December to the Applied Research Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University (ARL/PSU) in University Park, Pa., for UUV work throughout the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

That order for unmanned undersea enabling technologies is on top of a $1.1 billion 10-year contract announced in February 2018 for the same kinds of work, which involves:

-- guidance, navigation, and control of undersea systems;

-- advanced thermal propulsion concepts and systems for undersea vehicles;

Related: Wanted: enabling technologies for propulsion aboard submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs)

-- advanced propulsors and other fluid machinery for marine systems;

-- materials technology and manufacturing technology for naval systems and components;

-- atmosphere and defense communications systems research; and

-- mission- and public service-related research, technology developments, test evaluation, and systems analysis. This work is to help provide a quick response to rapidly evolving DOD and other government agency requirements.

Work on these contract and order awards will be in University Park, Pa., and should be finished by February 2028. For more information contact the Penn State Applied Research Lab online at, or Naval Sea Systems Command at

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