General Dynamics has unveiled its new Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), the Bluefin-9. Aimed at defense, academic, and commercial users, the latest in the company’s Bluefin family of autonomous undersea drones made its public debut at Oceans 2018 conference and exposition in Charleston, South Carolina.
General Dynamics has a history of building advanced autonomous UUVs, such as its Knifefish minehunter, but the goal of Bluefin-9 seems to be to pack as much navigational and sensor equipment into as small a package as possible, yet still provide highly-detailed subsurface data in close to real time.
The Bluefin-9 is described as two-man portable, weighing in at 155 lb (70 kg) with an overall length of 95.2 in (241.8 cm) and a diameter of 9.375 in (23.8 cm). Equipped with a pair of mounted carry handles, it can be launched and recovered from piers, rigid-hulled inflatables, and a variety of other vessels. In addition, it’s been re-engineered to be modular, so it’s easy to maintain and components like the 1 TB Removable Data Storage Module (RDSM) and the 1.9 kWh rechargeable li-ion battery can be swapped out in under 30 minutes.