The Navy christened the first Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) prototype on Feb. 2 at the Narragansett Bay Test Facility in Newport, R.I.

The event was led by a team from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport and the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC).

Snakehead is an accelerated acquisition program that looks to field a long-endurance multi-mission LDUUV able to be deployed from ports, attack submarines and Littoral Combat Ships.

The Navy noted it is modular, reconfigurable and equipped with a government-owned architecture. It also features mission autonomy capabilities and vehicle software, and has innovation in hull materials and lithium-ion battery certification. 

The Navy will use the Snakehead to provide guidance and control, navigation, situational awareness, propulsion, maneuvering and sensors to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and anti-submarine undersea missions. The Snakehead is the Navy’s largest submarine-launched UUV.

Last year, the Navy released a Request for Proposals for the Snakehead LDUUV with plans to competitively award a contract to a single contractor to build two prototypes (Defense Daily, Jan. 4, 2021).