Navy asks Hydroid to upgrade MK 18 Kingfish unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) in $15.8 million contract

The MK 18 is for low-visible reconnaissance for amphibious landings; mine countermeasures ; and hydrographic mapping at depths from 10 to 40 feet.

Remus 600 7 Aug 2019

INDIAN HEAD, Md. – Unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) experts at Hydroid Inc. in Pocasset, Mass., will upgrade the company's MK 18 Kingfish family of unmanned submersibles under terms of a $15.8 million contract announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division in Indian Head, Md., are asking Hydroid for additional engineering to develop, test, and install pre-planned product improvements for the MK 18 family of reconnaissance UUV systems.

Pre-planned product improvement, also called P3I, involve periodic systems and technology upgrades during development to enhance system performance or mitigate the effects of subsystem or component obsolescence.

The Navy Hydroid MK 18 Kingfish UUV is a variant of the Hydroid REMUS 600, which Hydroid developed originally developed through funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., to support the Navy's UUVs with extended endurance, increased payload capacity, and greater operating depth.

story continues below

The MK 18 can perform low-visible exploration and reconnaissance in support of amphibious landings; mine countermeasures operations such as search, classification, mapping, reacquire, and identification; and hydrographic mapping at depths from 10 to 40 feet.

The UUV can navigate via acoustic transponders in long-baseline or ultra-short-baseline mode or via P-coded GPS. Its upward- and downward-looking acoustic digital velocity log improves dead-reckoning accuracy.

The MK 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV achieved full operational capabilities in 2008. Follow-on block upgrades combined two separate UUV programs into the MK 18 Kingfish family of systems to deliver improved detection capability against buried mines in high clutter environments.

The REMUS 600, on which the MK 18 UUV is based, can dive to depths of nearly 2,000 feet, and can operate on one battery charge for as long as 24 hours. The UUV is for mine countermeasures; harbor security; debris field mapping; search and salvage; scientific sampling and mapping; hydrographic surveys; environmental monitoring; and fishery operations. REMUS is short for Remote Environmental Measuring Unit S.

Related: UUVs hit their stride

The torpedo-shaped REMUS 600 UUV is nearly 13 feet long and two feet in diameter. The unit weighs 622 pounds. It has dynamic focus side look sonar (SLS), a Neil Brown conductivity and temperature sensor (CT), WET Labs beam attenuation meter (BAM) optical sensor, Imagenex 852 pencil beam sonar for obstacle avoidance, and a WET Labs ECO fluorometer and turbidity measurement sensor.

Its communications suite consists of a long baseline acoustic communications, WiFi, Iridium satellite communications, and radio modem via gateway buoy. The UUV navigates by up- and down-looking acoustic Doppler current profiler; Doppler velocity log; Kearfott inertial navigation unit; compass; and GPS.

The REMUS 600 has a modular design to meet a variety of payloads. The UUV has a series of hull sections that can be separated for vehicle reconfiguration, maintenance, and shipping. IT uses the Hydroid Vehicle Interface Program (VIP) for maintenance, checkout, mission planning, and data analysis.

On this contract Hydroid will do the work in Pocasset, Mass., and should be finished by August 2020. Hydroid is a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime AS in Kongsberg, Norway.

For more information contact Hydroid online at www.kongsberg.com, or the NSWC Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division at www.navy.mil/local/nswciheodtd.

More in Unmanned