The US Navy has awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to mature the demonstration capabilities of a power and energy management system for underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs).
The new $1.6m deal extends through next year, and will see the company mature a power and energy management system to facilitate wireless undersea charging of the UUVs.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will also be responsible for demonstrating the system’s software capabilities in order to allow the US Navy to prioritise and schedule fielded UUVs in need of remote recharging.
The current project is part of the navy’s Forward-Deployed Energy and Communications Outpost (FDECO) programme, which was initiated by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Virginia.
Aerojet Rocketdyne chief executive officer and president Eileen Drake said: “Aerojet Rocketdyne has a long, successful history of designing and developing highly efficient, reliable and safe electrical power management systems that operate in extreme environments on land, in space and at sea.
“We look forward to leveraging that expertise and working with the navy to develop a system that will allow UUVs to travel further than ever before, without giving away their presence to potential threats.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s power and energy management system will enable the UUVs to recharge wirelessly, as well as allow data uploads and the downloading of orders without the need to travel to a port or surface ships.
FDECO will also enable the US Navy to coordinate a wide range of UUVs that require wireless recharge capabilities.
The US Navy deploys UUVs for a wide range of purposes, including optimising remote sensing platforms, ocean floor mapping, and recognising and locating underwater threats such as mines.