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German shipbuilder TKMS (Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems) is preparing to start construction of their MUM underwater drone

The latest iteration of uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) is emerging as larger than their predecessors. German shipbuilder, TKMS, is set to construct its Modifiable Underwater Mothership (MUM), which boasts dimensions far greater than any other UUV currently available. The MUM prototype is slated to measure 25 meters (82 feet) in length, making it comparable to the U.S. Navy’s Orca XLUUV, though the MUM is twice as wide, granting it greater stability when surfaced. The interior of the MUM is crafted from sections modeled after 10 or 20-foot shipping containers, a design element that makes transportation easier.

TKMS designed the MUM as a versatile civilian drone, with a broad spectrum of potential applications including offshore services, exploration of offshore oil and gas fields, marine minerals, and even law enforcement. The MUM’s ample payload space, weighing in at around 10 tons, makes it well-suited to carrying multiple smaller UUVs, ROVs, or sea floor objects. The MUM prototype will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell AIP propulsion system, capable of generating around 80 kW of power, and complemented by lithium-ion batteries for added power during peak loads.

As the MUM moves closer to prototype phase, it is poised to become a highly visible project, drawing attention from various quarters, including the military. The MUM represents a significant advancement in the UUV industry and promises to be a game changer.

While the MUM is primarily a civilian design, its potential applications in the military sector are likely to be explored in the future. With its massive payload space and high-powered propulsion system, the MUM is equipped to undertake various strategic missions, ranging from reconnaissance to surveillance. Its wide design also grants it greater stability and maneuverability, making it ideal for deep-sea operations.

As UUVs continue to evolve, the MUM is poised to play a leading role in shaping the future of underwater exploration and operations. Its modular design and flexible payload options make it an attractive solution for a range of industries, from offshore services to military operations.

Moreover, the MUM’s adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology is a clear indication of the growing interest in environmentally sustainable solutions. By leveraging renewable energy sources, the MUM reduces its carbon footprint, making it a more responsible and eco-friendly choice for marine operations.

In conclusion, the MUM is an innovative UUV that promises to bring about a new era of underwater exploration and operations. With its impressive size, versatility, and advanced technology, the MUM is set to make waves in the underwater world.

The German and Norwegian Governments signed an agreement for the joint development, procurement, operation and maintenance of the submarines in June 2017. The cooperation also extends to naval missiles, strengthening the cooperation between the navies as well as expanding industrial, research and development cooperation.

TKMS and its business unit for naval electronic systems, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, collaborated with Norwegian industrial partner Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace to form a joint venture, kta Naval Systems for the development of the submarines and other combat systems in October 2017. With a view to the future, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems could produce submarines in Wismar during the course of 2024. The main impetus for this is an order for more submarines from the German government and the resulting investments in the upgrading of the shipyard.

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