21 Jul 2021

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION for the “Launch and Recovery of Uncrewed Systems”

The MOD have launched an RFI on the details concerning the Methods for the Launch and Recovery (LAR) of Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USV) and Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUV) from Ships.

The Royal Navy envisions that Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) will be commonplace in the Royal Navy’s force mix and will be utilised for a range of military roles. Some of these platforms will likely need to be hosted onboard a ship (both existing and future classes). The authority wishes to understand what solutions suppliers can provide to permit the physical Launch and Recovery (LAR) of USVs and UUVs from ships. Suppliers are invited to describe the following information on their solution:

• How the solution launches and recovers uncrewed platforms?

• Key strengths of the solution.

• What level of technical maturity the solution is at and if the solution has been deployed or tested previously?

• What size (mass and physical extents) of uncrewed platform can be launched and recovered using the solution? Are there any other uncrewed platform limitations imposed by this solution?

• What ship speed range can the solution operate at?

• What sea state range can the solution operate at (using the World Meteorological Organization sea state code)?

• What is the unit price of the solution and please give a ROM estimate of installation cost?

• What design codes or other third-party assurance is the solution compliant with?

• Would the solution be suitable for LAR of an optionally manned UxV with persons onboard?

• Any other information pertinent to understanding the limitations of the solution.

The authority is keen to understand the scope and complexity of any physical installation of a solution.

The authority wishes to understand LAR solutions for current vessels as well as future vessels. It should be noted that the scope to modify and alter existing vessels may be limited, and it is requested therefore that suppliers highlight in their submission where such a modification would be needed. Suppliers are invited to highlight any critical interfaces within their solution, that if the authority released or developed, could decrease the integration challenge, or increase the speed of delivery. Suppliers are invited to articulate the role they believe they would take in capability development, i.e. are you a prime with a product or products looking to take a leading integration function or a supplier looking to offer a niche capability not serviced by boarder systems. Suppliers are invited to use Annex A of this RFI as guidance for the information to include in your response. This is very much an output-based requirement and any innovative suggestion that achieves the result will be welcome.

Purpose of the RFI

This RFI aims to achieve 4 outcomes:

a) Align the MOD requirement with industry capability and processes for procurement of the required solution.

b) Develop a procurement strategy that will deliver best value for money for Defence.

c) Implement an enduring solution that allows the Authority to plan its activity against an assured continuity of service, whilst also supporting ad-hoc, unprogrammed surges in demand.

d) To inform a Procurement Strategy that enables the implementation of an enduring solution.

RFI Procedure

Responses are requested to be no more than 8 pages. Returns to all the questions are not required, if either not appropriate to the solution being offered, or if the information is unknown. Responses to this RFI will be reviewed by subject matter experts from different functional areas within Navy Command Headquarters.

For more information on the RFI please read here. The closing date for any submissions is 12.00pm on the 23rd August.