QinetiQ unveils Sea Scout UUV

sea scout in waterTAMPA — QinetiQ North America unveiled a lightweight, air-launched prototype Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) engineered with three flexible antennas and the ability to accommodate two separate sensor payloads, company officials explained May 14 at the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here.

“It is designed to be deployed from a sonobuoy launch container which can drop from a SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter or a P-8 [Poseidon surveillance plane]. Also, this has the ability to pivot vertically and expose antennas above the surface while using its motor to maintain stability,” said Carl Carlson, Sea Scout business development manager, QinetiQ.

The antennas are able to receive a GPS signal, he added.

The Sea Scout UUV can travel at speeds up to 15 knots and travel for up to 8 hours at slower speeds. The Sea Scout’s propulsion is built around a seawater flooded motor with a high-power handling capability, according to QinetiQ’s fact sheet on the system.

“This is designed to have two different payloads in the nose. Power and signal connections for two separate payload connections are provided,” he added.

The idea is to have an air or water- launched UUV able to go underwater and use various sensor technologies for Anti-Submarine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures down to depths of 200 meters beneath the surface.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • blight_

    A torpedo-tube launchable version would allow surface ships to deploy their UUV’s from afar, mitigating the need for an LCS to serve as a drone mothership.

    • h2osausage

      sounded like they have tube launched as well

      >>>>The idea is to have an air or water– launched UUV

      • blight_

        True, but the LCS has no torpedo tube provisions and is somehow controlling UUV’s. I imagine they are launched by kicking them off the fan-tail like an RHIB, which presents a torpedo-tube-free form factor for deployinjg UUV’s.

        • FormerDirtDart

          The thing is like three feet long. A guy could throw one over the side with little effort.
          Basically, it’s a mobile sonobouy. I would assume they can deploy them from damn near every Navy vessel, and ASW aircraft

          • blight_

            It’s clear I have no military background, since I had to check the product brochure to know the sonobuoy dimensional specs:

            “Sea Scout’s size conforms to the A-size sonobuoy form factor (4.875” diameter by 36” length).”

            That said, this particular model is designed to be deployed at a distance from sea assets by aircraft. But for ships to deploy their own USV/UUV clouds, they’d need a fast way to launch them outside of the helicopter.

            I suppose for LCS they could be chucked over the side to achieve our promised drone mothership.

          • EW3

            Of interest is that the P-8 can carry 120 sonobuoys.
            For a littoral mission it could salt several channels and provide intel about what’s going on.

          • Good. Let the Nuke subs sit back off shore and send this inshore to find and target the electric subs.


    Well. Looks kinda like a scuba tank with props. Pretty simple design. But dang. We have unmanned machines in the air, land, and sea. Also space, (Voyager). Who knows what is next.

  • Lance

    And apart from espionage, is this better than sonar why?????

    • yogiberra111

      1. Ship or sub borne sonar reveals the position of the ship or sub and renders it more vulnerable to attack. Better to lose a uuv than a manned and very expensive ship or sub. 2. The uuv can maneuver and do so for up to 8 hours. It also uses gps positioning. This would be very useful in sub hunting and, again, puts no people or expensive assets at risk. Same advantages as uav’s only under water.

    • John

      You mean apart from the fact that one costs $10,000 and the other costs $2 billion?

    • EW3

      Who said anything about sonar?
      Because it is launched from a sonobuoy does not mean it has active sonar.

      Traditional sonobuoys did not have much flexibility. They stayed where they landed. These look like they can increase the search area. The older sonobuoys did not have GPS capability or much communication capability (simple UHF).

      This brings them into the 21st century.

      And most importantly it gives us a capability that will further confound our enemies which is always a good thing.

  • SFP

    Well. Looks kinda like a scuba tank with props. Pretty simple design. But dang. We have unmanned machines in the air, land, and sea. Also space, (Voyager). Who knows what is next.

  • Morrison

    I ask this.
    1. What acoustic signature does it have in relation to actual submarines?
    a. If these are misclassified by sensor operators, there will be casualties.
    b. Potential to misdirect ASW efforts during a war game or during an actual engagement.
    c. acoustic analysis needs to performed and training needs to be put out specifically cornered toward ASW operators on recognition, and if needed omission of acoustic sources.

    an operators humble opinion