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US Navy and Huntington Ingalls teams up for XLUUV program.

| 2022

According to information published by the US DoD on October 28, 2022, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) and HII entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) entitled Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) Launch and Recovery (LAR) Testing.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A crane prepares to lift the HII Pharos launch and recovery system from a trailer before launching it down the boat ramp at Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida. (Picture source: US Navy)

Pharos is a new HII LAR system which was built to operate with large unmanned underwater vehicles like Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV).

Prior to shipping Pharos to NUWC Newport, HII needed to ensure the system could accommodate Snakehead, and that it was capable of ballasting, de-ballasting and able to be recovered in a loaded condition.

As a result, the NSWC PCD Unmanned Systems Test and Evaluation Team expeditiously engaged to support its CRADA partner HII and sister warfare center NUWC Newport by developing and executing a complex demonstration test event in very short order.

Beyond CRADA partnerships, other entities were instrumental in this successful demonstration. Security teams from NSWC PCD and its host installation, Naval Support Activity Panama City, also coordinated to play a critical role in support of successful testing. U. S. Coast Guard Station Panama City also provided security services and on-site support during the effort both pier-side and at their boat launch.

Through the accomplishments of this CRADA, HII can continue to demonstrate Pharos capabilities to the fleet, apply lesson-learned to further mature and advance autonomy concepts, and continue to develop innovative national security solutions.

About Pharos

Pharos is outfitted with heavy duty wheels to allow its transport maneuverability within the well deck of an amphibious ship for stowage on the vehicle decks.

Pharos can be rolled off the back of an amphibious ship while using the ship’s existing winch capabilities to extend and retract the platform from the well deck. The Pharos design is scalable and reconfigurable to fit various unmanned underwater or unmanned surface vehicles.

The Pharos design was conducted by HII, and three main partners supported the development. The University of New Orleans, in conjunction with the Navy, performed the initial model testing, and the prototype device was fabricated by Metal Shark in Louisiana.

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