LDUUV, or Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle, is part of the US Navy’s effort to expand its capabilities in the water domain. There, the drones were significantly delayed compared to those in the air domain, but the first launch of Snakehead suggests that the imbalance in the future will be leveled.
The Snakehead, as the first example of an LDUUV, will be able to be deployed from the deck of submersible submarines that are equipped with dry deck shelters. This underwater drone has a modular design and can be reconfigured for multiple missions. At the same time, it is equipped with a number of sensors, because it was mainly designed to perform intelligence missions “preparing the operating environment”, i.e. checking what is in front of the ship.
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In practice, Snakehead and his ilk rely not on private company technology, but solely on government architecture and software. Maybe this explains why the development of these unmanned underwater drones took as long as 14 years. Today, however, they can definitely be described as advanced, as evidenced by technological innovations in hull materials, launch and recovery methods, as well as lithium-ion batteries. These are special because they belong to the safe ones and prevent cascading cell failures, enabling the completion of the mission, and also ensure the safety of personnel and equipment.