Description: The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and its industry partner have developed the Hydrographic Unmanned Semi-Submersible (HUSS), customized for port, harbor, channel, and near-shore surveying. Its unique design combines the key benefits of both a small surface craft (speed, endurance, maneuverability, navigation safety, real-time communications, command and control, sensor payload, navigation accuracy) and an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) (stability for sensors, easy launch and recovery, autonomy, energy efficiency, human safety) while yielding a threefold or better increase in productivity than either a small surface craft or a UUV. The HUSS can be equipped with sensors for hydrographic surveying and with imaging sonars (for inspection of ship hulls; infrastructure such as cables, pipelines, and piers; for pre-salvaging assessments; for bottom object search and detection such as mines, wrecks, and debris) and its real-time data processing and telemetry allow remote decision makers to do in situ re-tasking of the vehicle based on the observed data. The vehicle provides very flexible launch and recovery options including using a boat ramp, pier side with a crane or from a ship using a crane or stern launch system. The HUSS has been demonstrated in a variety of areas in ports, channels, and offshore. For hydrographic surveying, the vehicle has demonstrated a 6 knot survey speed with 48-hour endurance on one load of diesel fuel, with coverage rates exceeding 50km2/day; it can easily be refueled at sea without recovering the vehicle and can readily handle high current areas that pose a problem for UUVs and rough seas that pose a problem for small surface craft.

Vehicle Specifications:

  • Length: 20.3 ft
  • Width: 2.1 ft
  • Weight: 4500 lbs
  • Draft Semi Sub: 7.0 ft
  • Draft Semi Floater: 4.0 ft
  • Engine: 30 HP Yanmar diesel
  • Fuel Capacity: 48 gal
  • Running Time: 48 hrs @ 6 kts, 96 hrs @ 4 kts

Applications Include:

  • Bathymetry
  • Mine search
  • Unexploded ordnance
  • Post-disaster rapid response
  • Pre-salvage inspection
  • Hull inspections


  • "Hydrographic Unmanned Semi-Submersible," National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office, Volume I, 2012

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