Military Review

Autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicles for the Russian Navy

Autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicles for the Russian Navy

ANPA "Harpsichord-1R" in trials. Photo

In recent years, the so-called autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicles (AUV). Such a technique is capable of solving a wide range of problems and therefore is of great interest to different organizations. Now in our country at several stages are several AUV projects, some of which are created by order and in the interests of the naval fleet.


Work on the AUV topic has been carried out in our country since the mid-seventies, and then the first generation of such equipment was created. New developments began in the 1s, and by the end of the decade real results were obtained. The first modern AUV in our fleet was the Harpsichord-XNUMX product developed by the Institute of Marine Technology Problems of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMPT FEB RAS).

The harpsichord-1R was a 5,8 m long device with a diameter of 900 mm and a mass of 2,5 tons. It had electric power with four running motors, which provided speeds of up to 2,9 knots. The device could dive to a depth of 6000 m and had a range of 300 km. Management was carried out by an autonomous navigation complex capable of communicating with a carrier vessel.

The main objective of this AUV was to survey the water area and the bottom using a side-scan sonar. Working in different modes, the SAC could inspect a strip 200 or 800 m wide. Also on board were a camera, water condition sensors, etc.

Experienced "Harpsichord-2R-PM". Later, the product received a yellow color. Photo by TsKB MT Rubin /

In 2008, the Harpsichord-1R successfully passed state tests, the platform for which were some areas of the Arctic and the Far East. It was also used in a real search operation. After completing the tests, the device was recommended for adoption. According to reports, the Russian Navy ordered three new AUVs, but detailed information on their operation is not available.

Larger version

In 2009, the Ministry of Defense ordered the development of an improved version of the existing AUV, called the Harpsichord-2R-PM. Design was entrusted to IMPT FEB RAS and Central Design Bureau MT Rubin. The work took several years, and in 2016 two experimental devices were put to the test. Until the end of the year, they were tested in the pool, and then brought to the Black Sea.

It is known that the Harpsichord-2R-PM is larger and heavier than its predecessor. Its length increased to 6,5 m, diameter - up to 1 m. Mass - approx. 3,7 tons. The architecture of energy systems has not changed. The running and maneuverability characteristics may have remained the same or improved slightly.

Famous shot from the Channel One report with data on the Status-6 project

It was reported that the new version of the "Harpsichord" is intended for the survey of water areas and the seabed. It follows from this that the sonar is again its payload. It also follows from the known data that the control systems with an autonomous operating mode are saved. However, details of this kind are still missing.

In the past, information appeared in the media about the possible deployment of the finished AUVs of a new type. It was alleged that they can be used together with carrier submarines - they will be the special-purpose submarines of projects 09787 and 09852. Later on, the harpsichord-2R-PM was about to enter the Navy’s armament.

Atomic Poseidon

For obvious reasons, the most popular interest was the ANA project “Status-6” or “Poseidon”. He proposes the construction of a multi-purpose autonomous apparatus capable of carrying a diverse payload - including high-power thermonuclear warhead.

According to well-known data, Poseidon has a diameter of 1,8 m and a length of approx. 20 m. The mass of the structure is up to 100 tons. The device received a nuclear power plant, providing virtually unlimited range. Some sources mentioned that the maximum speed will reach or exceed 100 knots, the depth of immersion is up to 1 km. AUV should have a developed management system that ensures the fulfillment of all available tasks. He also needs a developed set of surveillance tools, etc.

One of the experimental products on the topic "Poseidon". Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

On board the multi-purpose AUV, various payloads can be installed. According to various estimates, it is possible to use a nasal HAK and a side-view station. The device can be a “super torpedo” with a particularly powerful warhead or a carrier of mine-torpedo weapons. With the help of different loads, Poseidon will be able to conduct reconnaissance or identify and hit various targets. The most radical method of application involves the defeat of strategically important objects.

At the moment, the Poseidon project remains in its early stages, and a full-fledged prototype has not yet gone to sea. Not so long ago, the media reported on the production and testing of individual components and assemblies. A full launch of the AUV will take place only in the fall. In this case, its carrier will be the special nuclear submarine Belgorod, pr. 09852.

The prospects for the Status-6 / Poseidon project are still unclear, but he has riveted the attention of military and specialists around the world. The potential capabilities of such an AUV, its value to the armed forces and its influence on the military-political situation in the world are discussed. Despite a lot of skepticism, there are serious concerns. Which point of view was closer to the truth will become known later when the Poseidon reaches operation in the Navy.

Substitute "Surrogate"

At the end of 2016, the Central Design Bureau of MT Rubin announced the initiative development of a concept project of the ANPA with the code "Surrogate". At that time, the bureau formed general ideas for this project and held consultations with the customer represented by the Navy. To date, all work has been completed. The results of the work were transferred to the relevant organizations of the fleet. They have to evaluate the concept and decide its fate.

The proposed appearance of the ANPA "Surrogate". Graphics TsKB MT "Rubin" /

The Surrogate project offers AUVs with the function of simulating submarines. This product is approx. 17 m with a displacement of 40 tons with an electric power plant that provides acceleration to 24 knots and an economic speed of 5 knots with a range of 600 miles. Immersion depth - 600 m. Duration of work - up to 15-17 hours.

A variety of external antennas and towed devices should be placed on board the Surrogate. With their help, the AUV will be able to simulate the physical fields of a real submarine. Depending on the composition and mode of operation of such equipment, the device should replace a real nuclear submarine or diesel-electric submarine of one type or another. It is also possible to install other equipment, for example, for reconnaissance or mapping.

The main task of ANPA "Surrogate" is the replacement of real submarines in the exercises of anti-submarine forces. The appearance of such an apparatus will allow not involving real submarines in the work, which will simplify and reduce the cost of training activities. The risks for all participants in the maneuvers should also be reduced.

The use of "Surrogate". Graphics TsKB MT "Rubin" /

According to the latest news, "Surrogate" stopped at the stage of theoretical study, and his further fate depends on interest from the Navy. If the fleet wishes such a complex, the Central Design Bureau of MT Rubin will complete the project. In addition, in the past, the development organization did not rule out the possibility of foreign orders.

Perspective direction

The current level of technology development allows you to create fully autonomous devices of various kinds, including designed to work underwater. Russian design organizations have long been mastering this direction, the result of which has already become a wide range of diverse AUVs for various purposes. Some of these developments have already reached the adoption of the Navy, while others are only preparing for this.

Current orders of the Russian Navy include the creation, construction and delivery of vehicles for all major areas. Already received or expected reconnaissance AUVs, multi-purpose and combat. While such a technique remains scarce, however, its total number is gradually growing in accordance with the needs of the fleet. In the foreseeable future, with the completion of work on a number of important projects, the situation will seriously change - the consequence of this will be the appearance in the system of both promising means of conducting underwater reconnaissance and fundamentally new systems for strategic nuclear forces.
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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 15 June 2020 06: 08 New
    I am not a sailor. But I think such devices are needed. Now the main thing is to work out the tactics of their application, to train competent specialists.
    1. Same lech
      Same lech 15 June 2020 06: 56 New
      But I think such devices are needed.

      The Americans were very worried ... they began to poke their nose where it is not necessary.

      The Vityaz’s immersion in the Mariana Trench was tried to be monitored from the USA
  2. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 15 June 2020 06: 18 New
    At the end of 2016, the Central Design Bureau of MT Rubin announced the initiative development of a concept project of the ANPA with the code "Surrogate".
    The name of the project is doubtful. Thought the author’s fantasies? repeat No. This is a fantasy in KB bad. request
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I 15 June 2020 07: 06 New
      "Surrogate", if I'm not mistaken, is it in French ... and in German, "ersatz"?
      1. The popuas
        The popuas 15 June 2020 07: 36 New
        In Russian ... a palette! bully
  3. Undecim
    Undecim 15 June 2020 07: 23 New
    As always - a lot of words, a minimum of information.
    In recent years, the so-called autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicles (AUV).
    This direction was developed more than twenty years ago.
    Since the beginning of the XNUMXs, approximately seventy AUV projects have been appearing annually in the world.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 15 June 2020 07: 25 New
      Most of the AUVs operated in the interests of the Navy remained "outside the scope" of the author's article.

      Vityaz-D - a complex for deep-sea underwater research. Includes ANPA SPS, deep-sea bottom station, surface control unit. Communication with the carrier vessel takes place online via the sonar channel.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 15 June 2020 07: 30 New

        Gavia, created in Iceland by Hafmynd ehf. A number of these devices were purchased by the Russian company Tetis-Pro and adapted for use by the Russian Navy.
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 15 June 2020 07: 32 New

          Glider (Sea Shadow). Developers - St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University (SPbGMTU) and JSC "Scientific and Production Enterprise of Underwater Technologies Okeanos".
          It should be noted that Russia in this matter is very much behind the leaders - the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Norway.
  4. Operator
    Operator 15 June 2020 12: 24 New
    The dimensions of the Russian NPA Poseidon are different than those indicated in the article: length - 23 meters, diameter - 1550 mm (corresponds to the project of the Soviet torpedo T-15). The Poseidon's displacement is 40 tons.
    1. Fizik M
      Fizik M 18 August 2020 17: 56 New
      Quote: Operator
      The dimensions of the Russian NPA Poseidon are different than those indicated in the article

      Andryusha, are these ducks in the bathroom "singing" to you? lol