Kongsberg’s HUGIN AUV demonstrates defence capabilities in week-long showcase

Kongsberg’s HUGIN AUV demonstrates defence capabilities in week-long showcase

Kongsberg Discovery has successfully completed in-water demonstrations of the HUGIN autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) as part of the commercial evaluation of large diameter unmanned underwater vehicle (LDUUV) systems by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the U.S. Navy.

In January 2024, Kongsberg Discovery announced that it had been awarded a contract by the DIU to rapidly deliver HUGIN AUV capabilities to the U.S. military. In April, a delegation from the U.S. visited Horten in Norway, for an extensive week-long demonstration. This event allowed Kongsberg to showcase its unmatched and proven AUV technology, developed over the past 30 years. Topics included operations, design philosophy, systems approach, sensors, batteries, navigation, autonomy, manufacturing, the physical vehicle portfolio and hands-on familiarization of the user interfaces.

“I am extremely pleased with the visit and demonstrations we held for the team sent by the DIU and the U.S. Navy. The visitors were provided with a unique opportunity to see in-water capabilities and attend shoreside sessions to introduce them to the Kongsberg experience in the deep-water AUV space. It was terrific to have the DIU and U.S. Navy team visit and allow us to show off our own amazing team and world renowned HUGIN AUVs. We are honoured to be a part of the U.S. Navy’s LDUUV effort and are excited to receive additional feedback. Our business model is tightly intertwined with our customers, and we get better through them,” said Espen Henriksen, executive vice president of the uncrewed platforms division.

Dual-use purposes

Kongsberg produces three models that fall into the LDUUV category as defined by the U.S. Navy. The newest and most advanced of these is the HUGIN Endurance. While the new AUV incorporates many of the industry-leading capabilities found in previous HUGIN vehicles, new advancements were necessary to enable long-term unsupported missions. These advancements include greater redundancy, a new autonomous mission management system, enhanced situational awareness, and the ability to handle a wide range of varying water densities. Rich Patterson, vice president of sales for the uncrewed platforms division, explains that the market for AUVs has changed significantly over the last few years.

“Our HUGIN AUVs were always designed for dual-use purposes. In the early years of the programme, our user base tended to be primarily in the commercial market. In the last few years, we have seen a shift in the marketplace, with increasing demand from the defence space as our AUV technology became more mature and was demonstrated to have extremely high reliability. We have seen this demand increase as the global geopolitical situation continues to become more unstable. What truly sets us apart is that our continued development has resulted in systems that have the capabilities to meet many naval requirements ‘out of the box’,” he said.

Increased attention from defence

Today there are 12 navies using HUGIN in real world missions such as IPoE (Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment), MCM (Mine Counter Measure), SSW (Subsea and Seabed Warfare) and seafloor mapping operations.

“We are excited to bring our many years of AUV experience in support of the U.S. military and look forward to closely partnering with DIU and the U.S. Navy to help make their LDUUV programme a reality,” Rich Patterson continued.

Since the start of the HUGIN programme, Kongsberg has delivered more than 100 HUGIN AUV systems globally for both commercial and government customers. The HUGIN family of AUVs includes multiple contenders for the LDUUV market. Of these, HUGIN Endurance, launched in 2021, is the largest member of Kongsberg Discovery’s HUGIN family of AUVs. In addition to Kongsberg’s standard complement of mapping sensors, this vehicle includes a large configurable volume that can be used to carry a mixture of batteries and custom payloads as needed.

Kongsberg Discovery has completed successful HUGIN AUV demonstrations for U.S. Navy and DIU evaluation. (Image courtesy: Kongsberg Discovery)
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