April 25 (UPI) -- Hydroid was awarded a $23.1 million contract for production support of the MK 18 family of unmanned submersibles for the U.S. Navy.
With four option years, the cumulative contract could be worth up to $47.9 million, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.
Work will be performed at Hydroid's plant in Pocasset, Mass., with an expected completion date by April 2020 and with options through April 24. No contract funds were obligated on the contract at time of award.Hydroid was selected because it was the only responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.
In 2017, the Navy awarded Hydroid a $27.3 million to upgrade the underwater vehicles, including engineering and technical services for product improvements.
Resembling a conventional torpedo, MK18 Kingfish are launched from ships or mid-sized rigid-hull boats. It is nearly 4 meters long and weighs more than 600 pounds. At depths from 10 feet to 40 feet, the Kingfish submersible can perform low-visible exploration and reconnaissance in support of amphibious landing, mine countermeasures operations and identification.
The Kingfish is a variant of the Hydroid REMUS 600, which was developed originally through funding from the Office of Naval Research.
The REMUS 600, which is known as the Swordfish, can dive to depths of nearly 2,000 feet, operating on one battery charge for as long as 24 hours. The REMUS 600 UUV is nearly 13 feet long and 2 feet in diameter.
Hydroid, a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, was founded in 2001 by the inventors of the REMUS to allow for continuous product development, according to its website.
"With their MK 18 family of UUV systems, we've put them aboard cruisers and destroyers and had them do extensive rehearsals of the actual operations -- and in some cases, in exercises and operations we've actually used those platforms," Capt. Michael Egan, commander of Task Force 52, said last year at the National Defense Industrial Association's annual Expeditionary Warfare Conference.