On January 20 the Royal Norwegian Navy
(RNoN) directed the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) to deliver a military Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) prototype, with the intention of using the military AUV system in mine countermeasure (MCM) and rapid environmental assessment (REA) ops.
The delivery is part of a plan to establish a forward autonomous MCM/REA capability to the Navy. The delivery is a successor to the very successful operations, test and evaluations performed by the use of the HUGIN I vehicle from one of the RNoN MCM vessels during the last two years. Kongsberg Simrad will produce and deliver the vehicle by the end of 2003. By 2005 a full-performance capability (HUGIN Mine Reconnaissance System) will be transitioned to the Navy and will be subjected to operational evaluation by the Mine Warfare Flotilla
. Thus, by taking delivery of a military AUV prototype now the Navy is speeding up their original schedule by establishing a preliminary capability from 2004.
The HUGIN 1000 vehicle is a new generation of HUGIN AUVs, and will have an endurance of 20 hours and a depth rating of 1,970 ft. (600 m). It will have a sensor suite capable of performing high-precision seabed route surveys, mine detection, classification and localization in forward positions to the MCM vessel. The system will be used in regular MCM and REA operations in national and international waters. The vehicle will be operated from the KNM Karmøy mine hunting vessel. To date the HUGIN AUV systems have accumulated more than 25,000 line km and 4,000 hours of commercial and research survey operations in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the Brazilian, Mediterranean and West African waters.