A collaborative research and development effort led by a U.S. Navy team recently demonstrated a new launch and recovery concept for large unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), with staff from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), which is headquartered in Virginia.

The demonstration, conducted at Division Newport’s Narragansett Bay Test Facility in October, showed both a land-based launch and recovery approach and a new solution for launching large UUVs from U.S. Navy amphibious ships. The demonstration included the Snakehead large displacement unmanned undersea vehicle (LDUUV) prototype, and the Pharos large launch and recovery vehicle (LLRV) designed by HII.

Snakehead, a modular, reconfigurable, multi-mission LDUUV provides support of intelligence preparation of the operational environment missions.

“We are very proud to have worked with talented Navy warfare centers (Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Florida and Division Newport) to advance Pharos capabilities,” said Jim LaCroix, director for advanced technology at HII. “The Navy and industry team did a great job addressing the challenges and completing a successful demonstration.”

“It’s encouraging to see new opportunities that facilitate use of the vehicle in the field,” said Allison Phillips, Division Newport’s test and evaluation lead for the Snakehead LDUUV.

Cheryl Mierzwa, Snakehead LDUUV technical project manager, agreed.

“This successful demonstration emphasizes that collaboration with the government and industry is key to build and test innovative solutions to increase the operational value that Large UUVs bring to the fleet.”

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.