IAI introduces BlueWhale Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

The state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has successfully developed a new large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), named as BlueWhale.

Developed by IAI’s subsidiary Elta Systems, the modular, electric-propelled large AUV is considered for Coverting intelligence-gathering operations above the sea surface, as well as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine hunting missions.

As per IAI, BlueWhale has already undergone thousands of hours of submerged and autonomous operations in conditions up to Sea State 5, including intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence-gathering, and identifying the presence of naval mines.

About BlueWhale Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

BlueWhale (ELI-3325) is an autonomous submarine system designed for reconnaissance and intelligence missions by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems.

The vehicle, which is outfitted with a wide variety of sensors such as radar, EO/IR, SIGINT, sonars, and magnetic sensors, can perform covert intelligence gathering above the sea surface like manned submarines, detect submarines, underwater targets, and collect acoustic intelligence, and search for and detect naval mines on the sea floor.

The data gathered by the vehicle’s satellite communication system (SATCOM) can be sent in real time to command posts anywhere in the world, on land or at sea.

The BlueWhale is said to be 10.9 meters long, 1.1 meters in diameter, and weighs 5.5 tons. The AUV may be transported by land, air, and sea in a 40-meter shipping container.

The vehicle’s operational speed, which is powered by an electric motor, is 2-3 knots, and its maximum speed when submerged is 7 knots.

The autonomous submarine, which can operate continuously for 2-4 weeks depending on the mission profile, with the electrical power coming from the battery bank, is capable of operating in conditions as severe as Sea State 5.

Image Courtesy: https://www.iai.co.il/