Alion Science and Technology has secured a multiple-award contract (MAC) worth $794m from the US Department of Navy, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport, Rhode Island.

Under the agreement, the company will be responsible for development, construction and support of the US Navy’s unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) family of systems (FoS).

The indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract covers the delivery of systems and subsystems required to support the advancement of UUV FoS, including current and future UUV systems and subsystems.

Under the project, Alion will support development of the US Navy UUVs, as well as fabrication, testing and delivery of rapid prototype material solutions associated with the products, systems, and subsystems.

“The ability to deploy unmanned vehicles with sensors that can detect threats sooner will provide the host platform with advanced situational awareness.”

Alion Science and Technology senior vice-president Vince Stammetti said: “The ability to deploy unmanned vehicles with sensors that can covertly survey a contested environment and detect threats sooner, will provide the host platform with an advanced situational awareness that increases the effectiveness of their tactical decision making with less risk to fleet personnel.

“In addition, the relatively low cost of a UUV as compared to the cost of building a ship provides the navy with a low cost, force multiplier alternative.”

Autonomous underwater systems include both tethered and non-tethered vehicles, which are capable of operating independently from, or together with, submarines and surface vessels.

The vehicles have been designed to carry out a wide range of missions such as search, detection and classification, weapon targeting and placement, undersea warfare training, as well as surveillance.