Kongsberg Discovery signs contract for the U.S. Navy’s UUV programme

By Defence Industry Europe

The Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) is spearheading advancements in undersea warfare technology, awarding prototype agreements to three leading companies, including Oceaneering International, Kongsberg Discovery, and Anduril Industries. This initiative underlines the strategic importance of autonomous underwater sensing and payload delivery in complex maritime environments.


Undersea warfare is a pivotal element for success in the Pacific and other contested areas, necessitating the deployment of Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (LDUUVs) with diverse capabilities. The U.S. military’s focus on enhancing these capabilities is evident in its pursuit of long-endurance undersea crafts capable of delivering payloads and effectors for both Subsea and Seabed Warfare (SSW) and Undersea Warfare (USW) scenarios. To address this need, the U.S. Navy’s Programme Office for Advanced Undersea Systems (PMS 394) has collaborated with DIU to tap into commercial technology that can revolutionize maritime operations.




Kongsberg Discovery stands out among the recipients with its contract to rapidly deliver the Hugin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) capabilities to the U.S. military. This partnership could see the Navy incorporating Hugin Endurance and Hugin Superior deep-water AUV systems, marking a significant enhancement in autonomous undersea capabilities.

With over 30 years of experience and approximately 100 large Hugin AUV systems deployed globally, Kongsberg Discovery brings unparalleled expertise to the table. The Hugin Endurance, notable for its 39-foot length, 47-inch diameter, and impressive 15-day endurance, is designed for unsupervised shore-to-shore operations over a 1,200 nautical mile range. Meanwhile, the HUGIN Superior is celebrated as the industry standard for deep-water operations, offering a 22-foot length, 35-inch diameter, and 70-hour endurance.




Both AUVs come integrated with Kongsberg’s advanced sensors, enhancing Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (IPoE), Mine Counter Measures (MCM), Seabed Warfare (SBW), and seafloor mapping. Kongsberg’s contribution to the U.S. Department of Defence spans decades, delivering cutting-edge technology across various domains.

Martin Wien Fjell, President of Kongsberg Discovery, expressed enthusiasm about pushing the boundaries for autonomous AUV operations and supporting the U.S. Navy’s LDUUV programme. Caitlin Hardy, President of Kongsberg Discovery’s U.S. entity, also highlighted the team’s commitment to providing top-quality oceanographic data and supporting the DIU’s efforts with their expertise in UUV technology.



This collaborative effort between DIU, the U.S. Navy, and industry leaders like Kongsberg Discovery is set to drive advancements in underwater engineering, autonomous systems, communications, and the strategic employment of LDUUVs for future naval operations. The success of these prototypes will significantly enhance future capabilities in SSW and USW missions, showcasing a cost-effective and scalable approach to addressing maritime challenges.



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