General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has won a design contract for large displacement uncrewed underwater vehicle (LDUUV) motors and power systems.

Awarded by the US Navy Research Authority (ONR), the company will work on a concept that will incorporate a LDUUV with a combined GA-EMS motor and next-generation power system.

According to the company, these systems will power up the vehicle’s propulsion, while an energy storage system will help enhance the system’s performance required for future LDUUV operations.

GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “Our energy and battery systems have been successfully demonstrated and proven safe for use on a variety of underwater manned and unmanned vehicles.

“Over the course of the last two years, the motor has undergone lab testing, and power system has completed underwater testing. Both systems have performed successfully, demonstrating capabilities to both power and propel underwater vehicles.

“Together, the systems are proving to be key technologies to provide the combined power, energy density, and improved vehicle performance necessary to help meet the objectives.”

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GA-EMS noted that development and testing works on the motor and power systems are continuing to optimise performance.

During a later phase of the programme, the motor and power propulsion system-integrated LDUUV will undergo at-sea testing.

The LDUUV programme, which is also known as Snakehead, is a long-endurance, multi-mission UUV that is deployed from submarine large open interfaces and comes with the capability to deploy reconfigurable payloads.

Claimed to be the largest UUV, it is intended for hosting and deployment from submarines.

In December last year, the US Navy issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the design, development, and fabrication of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants’ LDUUV programme.