Naval Group’s Groundbreaking Underwater Drone Development
Imagine an undersea world where drones roam freely, conducting intelligence missions or paving the way for naval forces. This may soon be a reality, thanks to the efforts of Naval Group, who've embarked on the journey of creating an extra-large, unmanned underwater vehicle (XL-UUV).
DSMO: The Underwater Drone
The French industrial group initiated the design of the DSMO, an XL-UUV demonstrator, back in 2016. It's designed to reach speeds of 15 knots and dive to depths up to 150 meters. What makes this drone even more impressive is its autonomy. Operating on a hydrogen fuel cell, it can stay active for several weeks without the need for recharging.
Clear Interest from the Defense Industry
Both the Defense Innovation Agency (AID) and the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) have expressed a clear interest in this type of technology. The DGA recently signaled to Naval Group about an agreement for the design of another undersea combat drone.
This agreement will open doors for the development of technologies for an UCUV (Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicles) demonstrator. The DGA has highlighted the potential of these large, unmanned combat submersibles, emphasizing their value in naval operations.
The Future of Naval Group’s XL-UUV
The focus for Naval Group is not just about creating a new underwater vehicle; it's about pushing the boundaries and improving the decision-making autonomy of the XL-UUV. It's about enabling safe navigation amid the unpredictability of underwater conditions.
In May 2023, Naval Group announced that its XL-UUV will be sea-qualified in the summer. The company's selection for this ambitious project capitalizes on its expertise in armed submarines and extensive R&D efforts.
Possible Deployment Scenarios
The drone has potential in a variety of applications, such as securing the approaches to naval bases or serving as a scout for a naval air group. It could even be deployed for intelligence-gathering missions. This development marks a significant step in naval technology and could set a new standard for underwater exploration and warfare.