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Israel Aerospace Industries unveils 1st unmanned submarine BlueWhale.

| 2023

According to a PR published by IAI on May 5, 2023, the firm is extending its maritime capabilities and presenting its BlueWhale Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for the first time.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle BlueWhale. (Picture source: IAI)

The BlueWhale has successfully completed thousands of autonomous operation hours, including intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence, and detecting naval mines.

The unmanned submarine is capable of performing many of the tasks of a manned submarine for several weeks without operators on board, at minimal cost and maintenance.

Similar to manned submarines, the BlueWhale performs covert intelligence-gathering operations above the sea surface, detecting submarines, underwater targets, and gathering acoustic intelligence.

She is equipped with a telescopic mast several meters high, like a periscope on a manned submarine, which mounts radar and electro-optical systems for detecting sea and coastal targets. Data is transmitted in real-time using a satellite communications antenna on the mast to command posts worldwide.

The BlueWhale uses a towed sonar several tens of meters long, and flank array sonar with receiver arrays attached to both sides of the platform to detect submarines and gather acoustic intelligence.

A dedicated synthetic aperture sonar is also used to detect naval mines on the seabed. Additionally, the BlueWhale has a sensor suite to ensure safe transit underwater or near the surface. In recent years, several international patents have been registered related to the development of this system.

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