Bluefin Robotics has successfully completed deep-water testing of a specialized Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The system was developed under a Phase II subcontract from Applied Physical Sciences Corp. (APS) for the Deep Sea Operations (DSOP) Program. DSOP is part of DARPA's Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting program (DASH), which aims to develop affordable distributed technology to address Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) surveillance needs over large, operationally relevant areas.
In February, Bluefin mobilized a Boston Harbor Cruises' vessel, the Scarlett Isabella, at their dock in Quincy, Massachusetts and transited for over 48 hours towards the testing site. While severe weather brought on by Storm Q forced the team to adjust logistics plans, they were able to successfully conduct six days of operational testing including two 4,450-meter dives totaling 11 hours.
Testing of the system provided Bluefin an opportunity to vet several new vehicle capabilities for their modular UUVs including an extended operational depth rating, an advanced pressure vessel design, a new power system, a newly available high-powered acoustics transducer system, and a transportable docking head launch and recovery system.
"I am proud to have a team, partners, and vendors that step up to solve subsea challenges," said David P. Kelly, President and CEO of Bluefin Robotics. "We are looking forward to tackling the next set of challenges posed by the DARPA Program and applying our hard-won experiences to others."
Phase III of the contract was awarded in early March and will fund the full integration of the deep-sea sonar into the vehicle, as well as fund the production of a second system with sonar to support networked operations.