Britain buys 12-meter long deep-sea reconnaissance submarine

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LONDON ($1=0.82 GBP) — The British Royal Navy is increasing its inventory of submarines. However, the new submarine differs from conventional ones. London is investing £15.4 million now to get Cetus – an unmanned uncrewed autonomous submarine – in two years. The news was confirmed by the British Royal Navy. First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key described the purchase decision as an extremely exciting moment in the history of the British Navy.

Photo credit: Royal Navy

Cetus will give a different capability to the British Navy. The sub will dive to a depth of 1,000 miles, a distance currently beyond the reach of conventional manned submarines. The main function of Cetus will be intelligence gathering and target practice for air defense. Cetus will be powered by batteries. Its total length is expected to be 12 meters. This makes it easily transportable, making it easy to use anywhere in the world where the Royal British Navy operates. The department confirmed that the submarine has autonomous functions and will work together with the British Astute class of hunter-killer submarines.

Unmanned underwater vehicles are a modern technology developed intensively in the last twenty years. They can be classified in two ways: unmanned underwater vehicles [UAV] and autonomous underwater vehicles [AUV]. One of the first known cases, when a foreign UAV ended up in “enemy” hands, was in 2016. Then, in December, China seized an American UAV in the South China Sea. The American UUV was not armed. China promised to return it to the U.S. and a day after that statement it actually returned it.

One of the most famous UUVs in the world is the Russian Poseidon nuclear torpedo. It is not a submarine, but an unmanned torpedo that moves at high speed and has a long range. According to Western analysts, its function is, by detonating a nuclear explosion from several nuclear warheads it carries, to produce a huge and unprecedented tsunami near a port or city, and thus “submerge the city underwater.”

Photo credit: Royal Navy

The Royal British Fault’s new unmanned submarine will be built by the company MSubs. The company is not large, compared to the expectations associated with other companies in the arms business, but it is built by highly qualified engineers and specialists. Brett Phaneuf, Chief Executive of MSubs says the confidence the British Government has shown through this order will motivate them not only now, but also in the future, helping to deploy more unmanned submarines in the Royal Navy.


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