The US Navy has deployed its first MK18 Mod 2 Kingfish unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) following the completion of more than 30 manoeuvres off the Gulf of Mexico.

During the 15-day mock deployment testing phase, the Kingfish vehicle conducted multiple missions in realistic environments in order to reduce risks prior to deployment.

The UUV, which is based on the Kongsberg REMUS 600 model, was launched using an 11m-long rigid-hull inflatable boat during the mock deployment, conducted in areas over 20nm from the Panama City Beach shoreline.

Test lead Amanda Mackintosh said: "We didn’t experience any vehicle failures, and ran three or sometimes four vehicles for eight hours a day during the 15 days."

Designed to support mine detection missions, the Kingfish autonomous UUV will be used by US operations in the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility to provide an enhanced endurance and area coverage rate, and replace the in-theatre Swordfish system.

Featuring the US Navy’s Mine Warfare and Environmental Decision Library and Command Operations Interference Navy systems, the pre-programmed UUVs detect targets by scanning waters, while also offering faster post-mission analysis for sailors.