UK Navy to take drone-teaming operations underwater with new submarine


LONDON — The Royal Navy has ordered what it says will be the largest and most complex unmanned submarine operated by a European navy aimed at strengthening Britain’s ability to protect undersea cables and pipelines.
The contract, confirmed by M Subs, a small professional aquatic vehicles maker based in Plymouth, South West England, should visit the 12-meter-long sub returned to the Royal Navy in two years.

Announcing the £15.4 million ($18.9 million) deal on Dec. 1 the Ministry of security said the procurement is the foremost step in creating an active independent torpedo that will work side-by-side with crewed submarines including the Astute-class hunter-killers and their successors – or independently.
Learned as Project Cetus, the automobile, named after a mythical sea monster, is the most delinquent in a growing list of assets by the British aimed at strengthening its ability to protect key underwater infrastructure from possible sabotage – a risk exacerbated by the recent attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

Last month the MoD announced it was having a contest, valued at around £20 million, to provide the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Navy’s help arm, with a remotely operated deep water salvage capability.
News of that story came just days after security Secretary Ben Wallace reported that leaders plan to accelerate the delivery of the first two multirole ocean surveillance ships ordered by the British to protect underwater cables.

The first ships are expected to be handed over in the next few weeks, well ahead of the original delivery date.
In a statement announcing the unmanned submarine deal Wallace said that to meet the growing threats to our aquatic infrastructure, the Royal Navy ought to be forward of the competition with cutting-edge credentials. Project Cetus, alongside bringing forward the MROS ships, helps ensure the right equipment to protect the security of the UK and our allies.

The bespoke unmanned ship ordered by the British is the size of a London double-decker bus, has a diameter of 2.2 meters, and considers 17 tons.
The British already put banknotes into a trustworthy tech trials ship, and the MoD said Cetus is considered the “equivalent for sub-sea experimentation.
The battery-powered vessel can cover up to 1,000 miles in a single mission, though the range increased with the installation of additional batteries, said the MoD.
Other enhancements to the modular-built vessel could include an optional section that added to double its capacity.
Up to now, the Navy has experimented with and sometimes operated, autonomous underwater systems in places like Scotland, where Britain bases its nuclear submarine fleet.
A new murmur torpedo helped defend Britain’s underwater infrastructure including internet cables and power lines possible threats like the episodes that eliminated the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The vessel, which is the size of a bus, helps the Royal Navy dominate underwater warfare and delivered within two years, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced.
Speaking in Rome, visiting the opposite number, Mr. Wallace said To meet the growing threats to our underwater infrastructure, the Royal Navy needs to be ahead of the competition.
He said the £15.4 million submarine helped ensure we have the right equipment to protect the security of the UK and our Allies.
Project Cetus – named after a mythical sea monster – is an experimentation platform to develop autonomous underwater systems. It will not carry weapons but monitor sub-sea activity to deter and detect attacks.
Military chiefs have long been concerned about Britain’s vulnerability under the sea.

The attack on the NordStream pipeline in international waters between Sweden and Denmark in September, for which many defense experts blame Russia, saw a wake-up call to the vulnerability of critical national infrastructure.
Russia is known to have developed specialized crewed submarines capable of interfering with cables on the ocean floor.
Given the volume of internet lines and power cables beneath the sea, the MoD has created this a focus area for analysis and acquisition.

Earlier this year Ben Wallace called navy chiefs to check the ratio between the cover and sub-surface fleets.
This year the MoD has also purchased two cover ships scheduled to increase surveillance of the sea bed, with specially designed equipment to work at extreme depths.
The first of these is a new Multi-Role Ocean Survey Ship (MROSS) purchased from Sweden, operational next year after refit. It rushed into assistance in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The Royal Navy takes delivery of MROSS in January 2023.
The Navy also invested in a dedicated technology trials ship, the XV Patrick Blackett, to test new tools. Cetus is the equivalent of a sub-sea investigation.
Cetus was designed and made for the Royal Navy by Plymouth-based tech company MSubs.

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Olivia Wilson
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