Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has demonstrated capabilities allowing amphibious war vessels to operate with a launch and recover large-diameter uncrewed underwater vehicle (LDUUV).

This demonstration, which had seen the use of HII-built amphibious warships and LDUUV, was part of the research and development effort between HII’s Mission Technologies and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions, to support HII’s national security customers.

Conducted in the Pascagoula River, the test was performed using a prototype platform known as Pharos and HII’s LDUUV Proteus.

The test was carried out by HII’s Advanced Technology Group.

HII-built San Antonio-class amphibious ships include well decks that can be flooded to launch and recover space crafts. The US Navy has also tested this ability previously.

During the demonstration, the LDUUV was made to approach and be seized by Pharos cradle while Pharos was towed behind a small craft, simulating an amphibious vessel at low speed.

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After being put in a tow position, Pharos was ballasted down, using a remote control, in the trailing position, to help LDUUV navigate into Pharos.

Pharos was then de-ballasted back into a recovery and transport position, after the uncrewed vehicle was captured. The test also involved ballasting down to launch LDUUV after being captured.

HII Ingalls Shipbuilding president Kari Wilkinson said: “HII is committed to advancing the future of distributed maritime operations and demonstrating our capability to support uncrewed vehicles on amphibious ships.”

Pharos has a reconfigurable design to fit several uncrewed surface and underwater vehicles.

The design of Pharos was provided by HII and three partners support its development.

The initial model tests were conducted by the US Navy and the University of New Orleans while Louisiana’s Metal Shark fabricated the prototype device.

HII is planning to conduct live demonstrations with the fleet within the next year and is currently exploring modifications for other UUVs.

HII will use Pharos test results to further mature concepts.