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21 Jul 2023

Successful Launch and Recovery of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle from Underway Submarine

Successful Launch and Recovery of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle from Underway Submarine
L3Harris Press Release

L3Harris, along with industry partners, developed and integrated a homing and docking solution that enabled launch and recovery of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) from an underway submarine, referred to as Torpedo Tube Launch and Recovery (TTL&R).

“We basically started with flashlights and a hoop to teach the vehicle to get into a torpedo tube with a very small (error) margin,” said Daryl Slocum, AUV Technology Director at L3Harris.  “From the time we started the project … to actually demonstrating (the capability from) a host in January of this year … took nothing short of a phenomenal team effort.”

Today, L3Harris is the first company to accomplish a fully autonomous launch and recovery of an AUV from an underway submarine, leveraging its proven Iver4 AUV technology. L3Harris is eager to enable the TTL&R capability for real-world missions.  

The ability to recover AUVs into an underway submarine enables the host platform to remain covert in safe waters while the AUV is launched to perform surveys and missions in areas that the host platform can’t go.  AUVs return with high-fidelity data to be used for tactical and navigational planning and decision-making, delivering manned-unmanned teaming to the fleet. 

L3Harris' autonomous capabilities are designed to operate across multiple domains delivering relevant operational advantage in contested environments where manned operations could put sailors and submarines at risk.  Its autonomous vehicles and vessels integrate state-of-the-art payloads to detect, track and hold the most challenging threats at risk.  L3Harris’ proven capabilities and real-world maritime mission experience demonstrate autonomy’s value to fill today’s operational maritime gaps.

The L3Harris team worked very closely with the U.S. Navy to demonstrate AUV launch and recovery through a challenging test program aboard submarines and Navy support vessels.  

“We were able to accomplish something the Navy has been trying to do for (many) years in response to an urgent operational need,” said Slocum. 

L3Harris welcomes the continued opportunity to support the Navy in the development of hybrid (manned-unmanned) operational concepts.  This new capability will increase operational effectiveness and allow every SSN-class submarine to serve as an AUV mothership.

L3Harris is expanding the undersea advantage and negating threats by working closely with its military and industry partners to develop and rapidly deliver forward-leaning technology for the ‘fight tonight.’  Whether it’s expanding undersea capabilities or developing modular AUVs to support Distributed Maritime Operations – our solutions help maintain dominance in the undersea domain.  By advancing new operational concepts, L3Harris is making the oceans transparent to maximize warfighter effectiveness and delivering manned-unmanned solutions today.

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