Lockheed’s Unmanned Yellow Submarine Set to Sail

With assist from Space Florida, Marlin AUV will help offshore oil, gas industry inspect pipelines, platforms



While the Beatles sailed the sea of green in their Yellow Submarine, no one’s aboard Lockheed Martin’s Marlin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). And that’s what Lockheed Martin hopes will make it appealing to the offshore oil and gas industry.

With the help of public-private partnership with Space Florida, Lockheed Martin will soon complete testing and introduce Marlin to market. Space Florida is investing in Lockheed Martin’s technology to allow for further refinement and marketing of the AUV prior to commercial production. Lockheed Martin expects to add at least 50 jobs in Florida as part of the Marlin project.

“This type of unique AUV technology allows oil and gas inspection and also helps to further develop domestic energy supplies,” said Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. “These types of technologies that also have significant applications in the aerospace industry will help to maintain Florida’s high-tech leadership.”

After Hurricane Gustov forced the shutdown of all the Gulf of Mexico’s offshore oil rigs in 2008, energy companies spent millions of dollars to send divers and underwater equipment to inspect the platforms and pipelines before resuming production. When big storms hit in the not too distant future, the energy companies will have an easier, safer and more cost-effective way to make those inspections.

"We developed the Marlin from our extensive AUV systems experience to fill a need in the commercial sector," said Dan McLeod, Marlin’s program manager. "The Marlin's advanced autonomous functions and cutting edge technology will deliver game changing capabilities for our customers."

Highly maneuverable with a sprint speed of four knots and capable of carrying a 250-pound payload, the 10-foot long, yellow Marlin can operate for up to 24 hours at a time in support of a variety of commercial and military missions. The Marlin's high-resolution optical and acoustic sensor package can provide 3-D pictures up to 1,000 feet beneath the surface and rapidly inspect for potential damage, eliminating the need for divers in these dangerous conditions. 

For more information on Marlin, please click on this article from WPDF Channel 25