Navy researchers approach industry for long-duration unmanned underwater propulsion at variable speeds

June 19, 2024
Project explores underwater propulsion that can work efficiently across different speeds over long distances with stop and re-start at any time.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. Navy researchers are approaching industry for long-duration and power-efficient propulsion for next-generation unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

Officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., issued a solicitation (N0001424SBC03) on Monday for the Power and Propulsion Systems for UUVs project.

This initiative will explore underwater propulsion systems that can work efficiently across different speeds over long distances -- particularly a propulsion system able to switch between low and high speeds, including the ability to stop and re-start, at any time.

ONR briefed industry on this project last March. This effort seeks to develop an unmanned underwater vehicles propulsion system that is able not only to switch between low and high speeds and stop and re-start at any time, but also that considers how materials are important to this kind of work.

Related: Navy researchers to brief industry on developing power and propulsion for unmanned underwater vehicles

ONR researchers are looking for designs to enable extremely long-duration missions through energy harvesting, storage, and management, and efficient use of available power.

Underwater power and propulsion systems should be able to work across a large speed envelope, and use new types of architectures, power systems, fuels, and propulsor designs. Contract awards are expected by December 2024.

ONR researchers say they expect to make as many as five contract awards for the Power and Propulsion Systems for UUVs project, with a total value of as much as $3 million.

Companies interested should submit full proposals no later than 1 July 2024 via the FedConnect portal online at Email technical questions or concerns to ONR's Jason Boxerman at [email protected], or business questions to Matthew Murray at [email protected]. More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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