Underwater targets could be visually identified.

A tethered, remotely operated, armed underwater vehicle has been conceived to satisfy a need for an uninhabited vehicle for Navy missions in which positive identification of targets is needed. Examples of such missions include those involving detection of swimmers and neutralization of mines. Unarmed versions of the vehicle might also be useful in civilian applications involving underwater inspections under hazardous conditions.

An Uninhabited Miniature Submarine would be operated remotely from a control console that could be located aboard a surface vessel. Power, sensor signals, and control signals would be transferred between the console and the submarine via cables in a tether.
The vehicle would be part of a system (see figure) that would include a control console aboard a surface vessel, overwater platform, or shore station. The vehicle and the control console would be connected by a tether containing cables through which power and control signals would be sent from the console to the vehicle and sensor signals would be sent from the vehicle to the console. The vehicle would be equipped with propulsion engines, propellers, and a rudder for horizontal and vertical maneuvering. The sensors aboard the vehicle would include a forward-looking video camera [and possibly one or more other video camera(s)], a sonar system for locating targets, an acoustic Doppler system for measuring the velocity of the vehicle, and an undersea beacon locator receiver, which would determine the coordinates of the vehicle by use of acoustic beacon signals similarly to the way in which a Global Positioning System receiver determines its location by use of radio beacon signals transmitted from satellites. The sonar system could be augmented with a loudspeaker or other acoustic transducer so as to be useable as an underwater audio communication system.

The vehicle would be equipped with one or more underwater gun(s), either of a type developed specifically for this vehicle, or of any of several previously developed types having a range of about 30 m. The gun(s) could be discharged on command from the console, once the remote control operator had visually identified a target by use of the video camera(s).

In an alternative to the basic design as described above, the video camera(s) and gun(s) could be mounted on a turret so that they could be turned for better aiming. The turret could also be equipped with a lamp to illuminate dark underwater regions.

This work was done by Kyrill V. Korolenko of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Tethered, Remotely Operated Miniature Submarine (reference NUWC-0002) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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