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DSEI 2019: General Dynamics unveiled new Bluefin-12 UUV


General Dynamics Mission Systems displayed its Bluefin-12 lightweight medium-class unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for the first time at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London.


DSEI 2019 General Dynamics unveiled new Bluefin 12 UUV 925 001 The Bluefin-12 lightweight medium-class UUV (Picture source: General Dynamics)


General Dynamics Mission Systems displayed its Bluefin-12 lightweight medium-class unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for the first time at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London.

Bluefin-12 forms part of a product refresh of the Bluefin family of UUVs, which is currently underway and follows on from the launch of the Bluefin-9 in 2018, Erik Schmidt, mechanical engineer II for Bluefin Robotics, a General Dynamics subsidiary, told Jane's at the DSEI.

"General Dynamics [GD] took over Bluefin Robotics three years ago, and at Bluefin, we had a lot of legacy and obsolete components that we'd been dealing with for a long time," he explained. "So, GD gave us the opportunity to really redesign these vehicles from the ground up and improve all the lessons learned over the years and really try to get it right."

According to the company, the system has been built with robust core capabilities and features increased modularity, embedded intelligence, data processing, and an extended operational range.

The Bluefin-12 is 4.83 m long and 32 cm in diameter, with a dry weight of 250 kg. Both the Bluefin-9 and Bluefin-12 share the same sensor and survey packages, including a Sonardyne Solstice 3000 multi-aperture side-scan sonar, turbidity and fluorometer sensor, and a sound velocity sensor for temperature and pressure. The depth rating of both UUVs is also the same at 200 m. "The reason for that is that we try to keep as much in common between the two vehicles as we can so that if you do own a system of vehicles you can interchange the batteries and so on," Schmidt said.