Bluefin Robotics has been awarded a contract to develop a mine and improvised explosive device (IED) identification and neutralisation capability for use in US Navy joint service explosive ordnance disposal.

Under the contract, a new variant of the hull autonomous underwater vehicles (HAUVs), HAUN-N, will be designed for ship hull inspection.

Generally, hull mine / IED identification and neutralisation is carried out by sending divers to scan the hull for targets and neutralising them manually.

The Bluefin HAUV-N is equipped with a high-precision manipulator arm and a video camera to complete the task more expeditiously with a remote operator neutralising the device.

Development of HAUV began in 2002 as an Office of Naval Research (ONR) programme to automate hull searches.

The Office of Naval Research is the contracting office for the joint service explosive ordnance disposal programme.