news | 12 October 2022

DIU, USMC Prototyping Two State-of-the-Art Autonomous Amphibious Response Vehicles to Clear Explosive Hazards

soldier looks over terrain

The biggest impediment to the grain exports is clearly the Russian blockades, and that includes the mines,” Maximilian Hess, central Asia fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told CNBC. June 2022.

October 12, 2022-- Mountain View, California--In the past year, there have been several mine related incidents that reinforce the threat of safe navigation at sea. The military needs the ability to project force from ship-to-shore, and maneuver in the littoral zone will be challenged by advanced adversary anti-access and area denial capabilities, but also by traditional obstacles such as conventional naval mines, which remain a major threat to safety of navigation at sea. While the U.S. Navy is responsible for finding and clearing mines at sea, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), as the Stand In Force, requires their own capability to clear hazards in the surf zone, on the beach landing zone and beyond.

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) launched a project Autonomous Amphibious Response Vehicle (A2RV) to prototype state-of-the-art amphibious unmanned systems capable of detecting, identifying, localizing, inspecting, and neutralizing explosive hazards from very shallow water through the surf zone to the beach exit. A2RV will provide USMC Commanders with various unmanned capabilities to include clearance of explosive hazards from ship-to-shore, shore-to-ship, ship-to-ship, and shore-to-shore employment conditions and will complement other capabilities, interoperating with unmanned underwater vehicles, remote operated vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians as part of the Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization (LEON) Program of Record.

DIU, in partnership with Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), and the Office of the Deputy DoD CTO for Mission Capabilities, selected two solutions, from 67 submissions, to advance into a competitive rapid prototyping effort. Greensea Systems and Nauticus Robotics will deliver prototype vehicles to the USMC for user evaluation by Fall 2023. Greensea, in partnership with Bayonet Ocean Vehicles, will deliver a prototype Bayonet-250 crawler based on a mature commercial platform. Nauticus Robotics, in partnership with VideoRay, will design and build the “Terranaut” concept vehicle, which provides the ability to crawl on the seafloor, and navigate through the water column using thrusters. Both vehicles will integrate with USMC Mission Command systems, and adhere to open architecture principles for interoperability. The diverse technical approaches of the two companies provide the USMC with optionality and risk reduction, while delivering the key features required to complete the mission.

“DIU is excited for this partnership with Marine Corps Systems Command to provide these new capabilities to our Marines. We are also  grateful for the additional funding we’ve received from the Office of the Deputy CTO for Mission Capabilities (formerly the Rapid Reaction Technology Office), which allows for multiple performers, ensuring maximum competition,”  MAJ Alex Oliver, Program Manager at DIU.