One year on from BAE Systems FASTLabs acquisition of Riptide Autonomous Solutions and the disruptive family of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) is already making waves across the industry.
The Riptide UUV family includes three offerings: the 4.875in diameter, 25 lbs micro; the 7.5in 65-120 lbs 1MP (man-portable) unit; and the 9.375in 120-240 lbs 2MP. These small, sophisticated yet simple, efficient and highly flexible platforms offer performance discriminators including being able to perform at greater depth, at longer range, with more endurance and at greater speed.
“As joint all-domain operations become the DoD’s operational norm, there is increased need for undersea platforms capable of integrating key payload and autonomy technology,” explained Dr John Hogan, Director of the Sensor Processing and Exploitation group at BAE Systems. “In the time since the acquisition was announced, we have made tremendous technology and integration progress that positions us to serve our DoD customer base as well as commercial, research and development and educational organizations to affordably and expertly explore under the sea.”
The first year has been focused on integration and infrastructure milestones including the following:
- New manufacturing facility – a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art prototype and production site in Plymouth, MA, that greatly increases capacity for both vehicle development and personnel focused on the Riptide product line;
- Commercial pricing model – established to streamline vehicle acquisition by employing standard, mission-focused system configurations that satisfy a broad customer base while continually enhancing vehicle quality, reliability and repeatability;
- System demonstrations – within just a few months of the acquisition, the team demonstrated an integrated solution at the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, or ANTX 2019. The demonstration paired advanced autonomy and RF technology with the recently acquired platform, showcasing the ease of integration and the ability to transition previously used air-domain technology into an undersea application. BAE Systems’ modular open systems architecture has the proven ability to rapidly integrate and field new solutions across a wide array of missions;
- Product advancement – the new facility and additional internal investments led to a number of product milestones, including the maturing of early prototypes into production-ready systems
- Micro UUV – enhanced with new feature functionality
- 1MP UUV – prototype completed
- 2MP UUV – next generation design and prototype completed
- An initial prototype of a 6,000m-rated UUV has also been developed. This depth in a small UUV will allow unparalleled flexibility and cost efficiency by taking on missions unprecedented for this class of UUVs, reducing barriers to access the deep ocean.