Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has announced the successful completion of endurance testing for the dual-mode manned or unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) Proteus, developed by the company's Undersea Solutions Group (USG) subsidiary and Battelle.
The simulated unmanned mission was conducted over a period of 30 days in a test tank at USG's facility in Panama City, Florida, US.
The testing demonstrated the vessel's reliability and ability to perform long-duration missions meant for the US Navy's future unmanned undersea vehicles.
During testing, navigational and depth data were relayed to Proteus' autonomy and vehicle control systems by computers in a van beside the test tank to simulate the vehicle running a mission in open water.
All the systems necessary for an autonomous mission were reported being operational and responded to commands.
Proteus simulated travelling 2,412nm and ran submerged for 720 hours while staging a full range of simulated mission behaviours.
USG operations vice-president Ross Lindman said: "This test helps provide reliability data and a technical foundation for development of a new generation of long-endurance UUVs to support the US Navy."
Proteus is a 200ft dual-mode underwater vehicle designed to execute larger payloads at distances of hundreds of miles in either manned or unmanned mode.
The vehicle is fitted with four cameras and a 300kHz multi-beam sonar to help the vehicle avoid collision.
It features one terabyte of network-attached storage (NAS) to record data, and can operate at a speed of 10k.
Proteus can be used for a range of missions, including payload integration and test, transporting and installing equipment on the sea floor, inspecting undersea infrastructure, and transporting divers and cargo.
Image: Proteus in the test tank during endurance testing. Photo: courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.