For David Farris, Josh Hill, Karl Lindman and Chloe Mallet—all engineers at HII’s Undersea Solutions Group (USG) subsidiary—there’s no such thing as a typical workday.
“There’s a lot of hands-on work,” Mallet explained. “You’ll come in in the morning dressed for your desk job, and by the afternoon you’re in your work clothes, steel-toed boots and safety glasses, installing new equipment on the vehicle.”
The vehicle is Proteus, an undersea vehicle that can complete both unmanned and manned missions, holding up to six special operators. Responsible for the design and testing of Proteus, these four USG employees serve as engineers, divers and submersible pilots and perform a variety of missions to demonstrate the vehicle’s capabilities.
“The vehicle can do a whole new variety of missions in the sense that you can have it operate like a swimmer delivery vehicle and transport a combat swimmer team,” Karl Lindman said. “But what makes this vehicle unique is that you can turn it to autonomous mode and have it drive itself somewhere else.”
Proteus’ autonomous mode offers unique capabilities for military operations using in drone technology.
“This is very new—very different—and there aren’t a lot of people out there that can speak to the level of technology that go into these vehicles,” Hill said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
At USG, engineers develop and build specialized manned and unmanned undersea vehicles for military customers around the world.
“They’re involved at the cutting edge,” said Ross Lindman, USG’s vice president of operations. “They are participating in developing early vehicles and creating the future of these vehicles.”
From designing to diving, these engineers have a hand in each step of the process.
“We have to use the experience we have from designing, building and testing the vehicle in order to overcome obstacles,” Farris said. “We’ll do everything from requirements development for a customer to actually taking systems to sea to test them. We’re all-encompassing.”