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Canada has been advancing greater awareness of safety and security issues, as well as transportation and commercial activity in the country’s Arctic. Within this framework, a new long-range unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) will be developed and manufactured. The Solus-LR UUV will incorporate a fuel cell power pack and suction anchor. Its target range will reach 2,000km and it is designed to stay submerged for multi-month missions.

The Canadian company Cellula Robotics received approval to proceed with phase three of a contract by Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the Department of National Defence’s (DND) science and technology organisation, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), under the All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science and Technology (S&T) Program.

“This S&T program will showcase Cellula’s advanced UUV research and development, combining traditional technologies with innovative power and anchoring solutions. With Solus-LR able to travel for thousands of kilometers, port to port missions will become a feasible lower-cost alternative to vessel-based operations,” Eric Jackson, the company’s President, explained.

The Solus-LR preliminary design review has been recently completed and now the critical design phase is underway. Technology and lessons learnt from the previously announced Fuel Cell and Suction Anchor phases will be further developed and implemented in this project, according to gasworld.com.

The design phase will continue into early 2019 followed by the build and factory testing. Sea trials and a capabilities demonstration will be concluded by April 2020.

Through an investment of up to $133 million over five years in the program, the Department of National Defense is supporting a variety of innovative research and analysis projects, the outcomes of which are expected to contribute to the development of options for enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface and sub-surface approaches to Canada, in particular those in the Arctic, according to cellula.com.