A system to integrate unmanned undersea vehicles with a submarine host platform
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Submarines offer a capability to deploy and retrieve unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) in littoral and blue water Areas of Operation while avoiding detection. Integration of the submarine and UUV through a launch and recovery mechanism offers unique challenges with respect to host submarine safety, UUV recovery, UUV replenishment and life-cycle costs. The Capstone team elicited launch and recovery system requirements from stakeholders and conceived four (4) advanced alternatives and a baseline alternative considered to meet the requirements. Through functional, cost, risk, modeling and qualitative analysis, this study assessed the value of each alternative to stakeholders. Of the concept alternatives explored, a high tech option featuring a carbon fiber structure, electromechanical pulse launch and recovery device and proximity vice contact battery charging and UUV stowage features provided the best value to the stakeholders for the investment. These results highlighted characteristics, including maintenance considerations, upgradeability, design for reliability and design for universal applications considered paramount for a successful system. Project lessons learned uncovered significant risk due to instability of UUV requirements as well as certification issues which adversely affect a submarine/UUV integration project. Early communications between key stakeholders must effectively address these short-comings.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
NPS Report NumberNPS-SE-11-006
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