Kongsberg Discovery Completes Week-Long AUV Demonstrations for DIU and US Navy

(Image credit: Kongsberg Discovery)

Kongsberg Discovery successfully completed in-water demonstrations of the HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as part of the commercial evaluation of Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) systems by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the US Navy.

It was announced in January this year that Kongsberg Discovery was awarded a contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to rapidly deliver HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) capabilities for the US Military. In April a delegation from the US came to Horten in Norway for a comprehensive week-long demonstration. It provided the opportunity to showcase systems that reflect Kongsberg’s unmatched and proven AUV technology developed over the last 30 years.

A complete tour at sea and on shore

Topics included operations, design philosophy, systems approach, sensors, batteries, navigation, autonomy, manufacturing, physical vehicle portfolio, and hands-on familiarization of our user interfaces.

“I am extremely pleased with the visit and demonstrations we held for the team sent by DIU and the US Navy. The visitors were provided a unique opportunity to both see in-water capabilities and shoreside sessions to introduce Kongsberg’s experience in the deep water AUV space. It was terrific to have the DIU and US Navy team visit and allow us to show off our own amazing team and world renowned HUGIN AUVs. We are honored to be a part of the US Navy’s LDUUV effort and are excited to receive additional feedback. Our business model is tightly intertwined with our customers, and we get better through them,” said Espen Henriksen, Executive Vice President Uncrewed Platforms Division.

2 Imagekongsbergdiscovery

(Image credit: Kongsberg Discovery)

Designed for dual use

Kongsberg produces three models that fall into the LDUUV category as defined by US Navy. The newest and most capable of those is HUGIN Endurance. While the new AUV incorporates many of the industry-leading capabilities found in previous HUGIN vehicles, to enable long-term unsupported missions, new advancements had to be made, including greater redundancy, a new autonomous mission management system, greater situational awareness, and the ability to deal with a wide range of varying water density. Vice President of Sales, Rich Patterson, Uncrewed Platforms Division explains that the market for AUV’s has changed over the last few years.

“Our HUGIN AUVs were always designed for dual use purposes. In the early years of the program our user base tended to be primarily in the commercial market. In the last few years, we have seen a shift in the marketplace with increasing demand from the defense space as our AUV technology became more mature and were demonstrated to have extremely high reliability. We have seen this demand only increase as the global geopolitical situation continues to become more unstable. What truly sets us apart is that our continued development has resulted in systems that have the capabilities to meet many naval requirements ‘out of the box’,” he said.

Increased attention from defense

Today there are 12 navies using HUGIN in real world missions such as IPoE (Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment), MCM (Mine Counter Measure), SSW (Subsea and Seabed Warfare), and seafloor mapping operations. “We are excited to bring our many years of AUV experience in support of the US military and look forward to closely partnering with DIU and the US Navy to support making their LDUUV program a reality,” Mr. Patterson continued.

HUGIN Endurance—a game changer

Since the start of the HUGIN program, Kongsberg has delivered more than 100 HUGIN AUV systems globally for both commercial and government customers.

The HUGIN family of AUVs include multiple contenders for the LDUUV market. Of these, HUGIN Endurance, launched in 2021, is the largest member of Kongsberg Discovery’s HUGIN family of AUVs. In addition to Kongsberg’s standard compliment of mapping sensors, this vehicle includes a large configurable volume that can be used to carry a mixture of batteries and custom payloads as needed. The system is designed to allow autonomous operations directly from shore, and with a full complement of batteries, it can spend up to 15 days at sea, traveling up to 2200 km (1200 nm).

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