March 2, 2016

Lockheed Martin's RMMV anti-mine drone may be shelved

The US Navy may shelve Lockheed Martin's Remote Minehunting System (RMS) also Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) program.
 Lockheed Martin's Remote Minehunting System (RMS) used sonars and other sensors to find mines. (Diagram courtesy panzercho)

"Lockheed Martin's Billion-Dollar Drone Submarine Faces Cancellation"

“And two rivals hope to profit from Lockheed's misfortune

The U.S. Navy is suspending purchases of Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) drone minisubs, and switching to an alternative product -- probably from General Dynamics …Maybe.

The Navy has already spent more than $700 million on the "drone" in question, actually a batch of 10 remote multi-mission vehicles (RMMV) designed to operate from Navy Littoral Combat Ships on minesweeping missions. Each drone is essentially a remote-controlled minisubmarine designed to locate and mark anti-ship mines for later disposal by its mothership.

…15 years of development have failed to fix problems with the minisubs, which broke down 14 times over 300 hours of testing in recent sea trials. The Pentagon's assessment: RMMV is "not ... operationally effective."

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that the Navy is considering several alternatives to Lockheed's drone. The leading contender right now appears to be General Dynamics' Knifefish, a similar submarine drone, which the Navy was already planning to deploy for the minesweeping mission in 2017. At an estimated $1 billion for 48 units, Knifefish promises to be a cheaper and perhaps a more effective minehunter than what Lockheed Martin is offering. [also competing is a]  Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle from Textron. 

The rapidly growing range of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) (see the RMS middle-left).



MHalblaub said...

That thing looks like the F-35 version of an UUV.

It is obvious Australia would need a big submarine to operate such UUVs.


Anonymous said...

The USN is developing the Common Control System for its future portfolio of unmanned vehicles. This platform development avoids development of specific controls for each USV or UUV. CCS is originally developed for control of unmanned air vehicles.

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Australia should certainly invest in a torpedo tube launched UUVs if it has the cash.

Atlas Electronik is probably wise enough to realise that oversize, "large diameter" LDUUVs are ungainly and uneconomical for submarine use. Too much US Inc. via Bryan Clark campaigning for LDUUVs!



Peter Coates said...


The Common Control System certainly sounds rational. Perhaps the US should use Lithium-ion Battery only propelled mine-hunting UUVs after all.

Diesel for UUVs seems to introduce un-needed, "orphan", out of sync, complexity.