The Ministry of Defence are looking for solutions to launch and recover unmanned surface and underwater vehicles from ships.

According to the Request for Information issued to industry the Royal Navy say that it envisions that Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) will be commonplace in the Royal Navy’s force mix and will be utilised for a range of military roles.

“Some of these platforms will likely need to be hosted onboard a ship (both existing and future classes).”

The authority wishes to understand what solutions suppliers can provide to permit the physical Launch and Recovery (LAR) of USVs and UUVs from ships.

The RFI itself states:

“The Royal Navy envisions that Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) will be commonplace in the Royal Navy’s force mix and will be utilised for a range of military roles. Some of these platforms will likely need to be hosted onboard a ship (both existing and future classes). The authority wishes to understand what solutions suppliers can provide to permit the physical Launch and Recovery (LAR) of USVs and UUVs from ships. Suppliers are invited to describe the following information on their solution:

• How the solution launches and recovers uncrewed platforms?
• Key strengths of the solution.
• What level of technical maturity the solution is at and if the solution has been deployed or tested previously?
• What size (mass and physical extents) of uncrewed platform can be launched and recovered using the solution? Are there any other uncrewed platform limitations imposed by this solution?
• What ship speed range can the solution operate at?
• What sea state range can the solution operate at (using the World Meteorological Organization sea state code)?
• What is the unit price of the solution and please give a ROM estimate of installation cost?
• What design codes or other third-party assurance is the solution compliant with?
• Would the solution be suitable for LAR of an optionally manned UxV with persons onboard?
• Any other information pertinent to understanding the limitations of the solution.
The authority is keen to understand the scope and complexity of any physical installation of a solution.”

The Ministry of Defence wishes to understand launch and recovery solutions for current vessels as well as future vessels.

“It should be noted that the scope to modify and alter existing vessels may be limited, and it is requested therefore that suppliers highlight in their submission where such a modification would be needed.”

The RFI is marked as ‘Open Early Engagement’, this means that a procurement idea is currently active, it is in the early stage of development and judging interest from potential suppliers.

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john melling
john melling
1 month ago

Finally some more exploration into future USV and UUV!
Both the above tie in with the future commando force and any new ships built as well, so it will be interesting to see what they come with. 👍 

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Depending on the size of any USV/UUVs both ‘boat bays’ and some form of ‘well dock’ would appear to be needed for this? Should make the design of the T32 very interesting, especially if larger size USV/UUVs (50+ tonnes ) are selected.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

I think this also ties in with the replacement of the Bay/Albion/Ocean as well.

Sone of these persistent UAV’s are going to be quite big.

There is a very interesting comment by Adm (retired) Chris Parry, in his stateside talk about the Falklands) that Albion etc should have had flat tops and were only made they way that are because historically those classes had not had flat tops. Hopefully we will see this rectified in the next iteration.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Hi mate, didn’t know about said talk, but see my reply to @andycree below.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32
AndyCee
AndyCee
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

The Algerian Navy ship which is a variant of the Italian Navy’s San Georgio class looks a good model for the Type 32. Needs more speed but as a multi role mothership, it could be a good place to start, perhaps?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_amphibious_transport_dock_Kalaat_Béni_Abbès

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  AndyCee

Right, v interesting, I was thinking more along the lines of a modified Absolom class or a Damen X-over type design- more in keeping with the original rendering we’ve seen. Realise that the rendering is just a guess, so, you might both be onto something with your thoughts.
Either way, something like this looks pretty big for some sort of frigate type mothership? Still, 2030 is some way off, who knows what will come out of T32 eventual design?

AndyCee
AndyCee
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Similar length and slightly wider beam than a T26. Take out the specialist sub hunting and quieting subsystems and it maybe comes in cost wise between T31 and T26? Have a flat top, room for a few drones and helicopters, plus a well deck to allow it to act as a mothership

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  AndyCee

That would provide some serious capabilities for the RN, even be able to take the new unmanned mine sweeping systems that we are investing in. Much more versatile then a Absolom type vessel.
Of course, then you get into the discussion – ‘are 5 enough’?? But that’s for another day!

AndyCee
AndyCee
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Of course 5 isn’t enough  😉 

Anthony Thrift
Anthony Thrift
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Wouldn’t a variant of the T31 be an obvious choice, we saw throughout the T31 development process the variety that could be had from design. Another point that would add to the design could be the use pods for propulsion rather than screws, thus more manoeuvrability, move internal usable space to have a mini well deck to lunch and recover drones as well as ribs.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Anthony Thrift

Morning Anthony, this is what the Absolom/Damen X-over type vessels already provide ( not podded propulsion). Why go to a redesign when it’s already out there? Not sure what we would save by modifying a T31 as opposed to buying off the shelf so to speak?

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  AndyCee

That’s an interesting take on it, there does seem a lot crammed into that hull but as a starting point I like it. A well deck would be a big help with the sea state you would think, especially for larger unmanned vessels which you would imagine will be what happens (most ships increase in size as we try and cram more in them). As you say below, rip out all the stuff you don’t need (or think you will) and make space for the stuff you do. We* just need to figure out how many hoofing big guns and… Read more »

AndyCee
AndyCee
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

It carries Aster and 76mm, which is a good start. Could put Sea Ceptor and the 57mm on. Throw some containerised AShM on, reduce the vehicle and military force accommodation in favour of drone/hangar space, bigger engines for more speed.
Job done 😁

PS: Am aware I’m playing fantasy fleets here!

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

How about using a bloody great industrial magnet?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Because most of this kit will be non magnetic?

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

‘Bloody great Industrial magnet’ … would lift anything, even with low levels of metal in it.  😶 

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Might mess up what metal equipment is in it. I imagine everything inside would have to fixed to be able withstand the effect of said magnets draw power. If not everything inside would detach/break and shoot at high speed towards the magnet. Same thing in a choppy sea it might stick to the side of the ship. Steal ur pocket change. Rob ur can of Fanta from the deck. Some kind of similar idea could be useful. Perhaps a smaller magnet to grasp a certain hitching point as a guide then some stronger lifting mechanisms secure it . As u… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

So much for trying to create a little levity …  🙄 

Phylyp
Phylyp
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Alright, ‘fess up, you watched the fourth Indiana Jones movie last night, didn’t you?

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Phylyp

Was thinking more James Bond in ‘You only Live twice’ 🙂 but having 6 vessels likr the Algerian vessel would be good addition/ support for LPD’s

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

I liked those light blue ninja suits they were wearing at the end, when they came through the crater roof …

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Phylyp

My god … am I so transp … transb … see through?  😯 

Johan
Johan
1 month ago

Use Albion Class LSD and just drive them in.

Where do i send the invoice for 10 mins work

Phil
Phil
1 month ago

Buy an ex US SSBN and modify a launch tube. Launched normally then recovered with a similar to refueling drogue to pull them back in.