Rubin Design Bureau presents its concept of a cutting-edge extra large unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) at the Army 2022 show. As the UUV is intended to cooperate with manned submarines, it was given a name Surrogate-W (Wingman). It is the elaboration of an ASW target Surrogate, which Rubin has presented earlier. The new modification has the same displacement, about 40 tones, and the advanced technologies implemented in the UUV guarantee a significant expansion of functions. With a new modification of a Li-ion battery the range is up to 800 miles. The UUV will have an option to recharge batteries on board of a mother ship, as well as at underwater docking stations. Another option under development is a fuel cells power plant.
Surrogate-W is to provide operational freedom of manned submarines, primarily by keeping and restoring their stealth. The Wingman will tackle the tasks that could compromise a Leader, such as communication, use of active sonar, etc.
The Wingman may perform as a smart gateway between a submarine and the atmosphere, ensuring the covert data exchange and navigation fixes. Having received the data from the Leader, the UUV transfers it to a satellite. The data could be sent immediately or after a fixed period of time or when the UUV reaches a preassigned spot. An interaction with seabed network systems can be organized in the same way.
Surrogate-W is able to conduct ice reconnaissance under solid ice pack and minehunting in hazardous areas. It is much faster and safer to get the information through the UUV than by surveying an area with a submarine's onboard systems. Working autonomously, Surrogate-W gives the Leader time and space to solve other tasks while the UUV explores the region.
Acoustic and non-acoustic search systems allow the Wingman to search for ships and submarines independently in specified areas or along vectors. Unlike a submarine, the UUV can acquire targets using overt methods, such as active sonars, since it is more than difficult to hit a UUV due to its size and maneuverability.
Another prominent feature of Surrogate-W is its ability to imitate a submarine it covers. The Wingman can lure opposing forces away from the Leader, distract them or to take all the heat. The new Surrogate-W, same as the first version, may be used as a target during ASW exercises, bringing the cost down and relieving manned submarines for their operational duties. The onboard acoustic countermeasures makes Surrogate-W able to imitate quite complicated tactical episodes. All these capabilities can be used for test and evaluation of new antisubmarine warfare systems, from sensors to weapons.