DRDO successfully tests HEAUV to counter enemy submarines

In a significant development, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted the maiden surface run of the High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HEAUV) at Cochin Shipyard, International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF), Kochi.

DRDO shared the test footage of the HEAUV on X and stated that the trial met all mission parameters.


While the DRDO hasn’t disclosed the details about the HEAUV, the Indian navy is looking to induct High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) roles with specific requirements in their capabilities.

The Indian navy is looking for HEAUVs with an endurance of more than 15 days and capable of detecting and tracking submarines at a range of at least 3000 metres on either side in all bathing conditions using Thin Line Array, Flank Array, Active Sonar or Synthetic Aperture Sonar.

Additionally, the Indian navy is also looking for surface surveillance capabilities in HEAUV with radar fitted on a periscope-type mast.

DRDO’s HEAUV is expected to meet all these requirements set by the Indian navy.

Also read: Black Sea unsafe for Russian navy: Ukraine sinks another Russian warship

In addition to submarine detection, an Active Sonar system or Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) would allow the HEAUV to detect and track mines as well.

Unlike passive sonar, which listens for sounds from the propulsion of ships or submarines, Active Sonar and SAS emit sound waves and listen for their echoes when reflected off objects. Given that mines don’t emit sounds, Active Sonar detects them through the reflection of sound waves, while SAS provides more advanced detection capabilities with high-resolution imaging.

According to Indian navy requirements, DRDO’s HEAUV is expected to feature Active Sonar or Synthetic Aperture Sonar.

While the Indian Navy has been struggling to acquire Mine Sweepers for years, the HEAUV may enhance its capabilities against mines, in addition to Anti-Submarine Warfare.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicle: The innovation in naval warfare

Many countries, including the US, are actively engaged in the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Deploying these low-cost platforms in significant numbers enables effective detection and tracking of underwater threats.

Apart from DRDO, various Indian defence PSUs and private entities are developing several types of unmanned underwater vehicles with anti-submarine and mine countermeasures capabilities.

Notably, in August 2023, Garden Reach Shipbuilders Establishment (GRSE), in collaboration with MSME entities, launched an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle named Neerakshi, specifically designed for mine detection.

This AUV has an endurance of 4 hours and an operating depth of up to 300 metres. Neerakshi AUV can be used in various missions, including mine detection, neutralising mines, and underwater survey.

Also read: Russia successfully tests S-500 system against hypersonic missile

L&T is also engaged in three developments: Adamya, Amogha, and Maya. Adamya UUV can be launched from a submarine’s torpedo tubes and has an endurance of 8 hours, with an operating depth of 500 metres.

In April 2023, the ministry of defence initiated the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV), which is larger than the HEAUV. The XLUUV will have an endurance of over 45 days.

Significance of HEAUV

Considering that India is surrounded by water on three sides and faces threats from the PLA navy, which boasts the largest submarine fleet, HEAUVs with expected endurance of more than 15 days will significantly enhance the Indian navy’s capabilities against emerging threats.

DRDO’s successful trial of HEAUV underscores its commitment to enhancing Indian defence capabilities amid regional challenges.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Avatar photo
About Vinay Sadham


The writer is a defence enthusiast and content creator with over 8 years of experience. He runs a YouTube channel called Telugu Defence News. He can be contacted at [email protected]