The New Shark in the Water
UUVs are the future of the fleet
Click, clack, snap - the cases are unlocked, revealing one of the Navy's newest technologies. With the sun peaking over the pines, this place seems innocuous, but it is the future of underwater warfighting.
Sailors assigned to Submarine Development Squadron (SUBDEVRON) 5, have been at Salisbury Point Park in Poulsbo, Washington since daybreak in two large trucks loaded with gear to start their mission.
A couple of hours ago, these Sailors arrived at the boat launch area, and began to unload the gear from the vehicles. One is loaded with several large black cases and the other tows an empty boat trailer. They quickly unload the mysterious cases and place them at the rear of the trailer.
The cases reveal long yellow tubes with wires poking out, curved brackets, and other electronic components. These are all parts of an Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV).
"We use these commercial [underwater] vehicles," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Makara Chhim. "And run them through a bunch of endurance and operation testing so that the fleet can use them in the future."
Today these Sailors are testing the "lightweight" class UUV, weighing in at 500 pounds. This is one of four classes of UUVs the Navy is testing, with the largest weighing in at more than ten tons. These UUVs are able to engage underwater, surface, air, and land targets. They are also able to gather and transmit information, and then act upon that information.