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Image of MUM Vehicle under water

MUM – Modifiable Underwater Mothership


The maritime domain faces challenges that demand new technological solutions. The fight against climate change, the responsible use of underwater resources as well as complex undersea research and industrial activities could benefit from a safe, efficient and green underwater system.

thyssenkrupp Marine Systems together with partners from industry and science are developing MUM, a modular kit for extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles (XLUUV). MUM is powered by hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries and developed to the users’ needs.

System Concept

A vehicle alone cannot solve the complex and comprehensive missions of the modern maritime sector. MUM is not just a vehicle, but a system able to fulfil a wide variety of underwater scenarios. Modularity is the key to addressing the variety of tasks.

Image of MUM Vehicle and it's mission modules

Figure 2: MUM base and mission modules

The XLUUV is therefore composed of almost freely configurable base and mission modules, enclosed by a hydrodynamic casing. The modules are designed as ten- or twenty-foot standard containers, making their transportation and assembly effortless. The combination of base and mission modules enables MUM to fulfil different types of missions as well as to scale its capabilities in endurance or payload capacity.

Image of an example ROV module

Figure 3: ROV module

  • Base modules: Base modules represent the modules required for the pure operation of the vehicle. This includes the trim, control and hovering system, the fuel cell and propulsion system as well as the communication and control system. The fuel cell system enables an emission-free and long-endurance mission with significant power for the payload.

  • Mission modules: Mission modules are the modules that are necessary for execution of the actual mission. Examples in-clude modules with integrated ROV (remotely operated vehicle), modules for deploying and recovering hydrophones for the detection of underwater resources, and drilling equipment for taking soil samples.

Due to the standardization of components and interfaces, modules from third parties or users can be easily integrated. This enable risk reduction for users as well as a quicker time to market.

Operational concept

Within the MUM project, the design will incorporate ROV operations, subsea control modules exchanges, ocean bottom nodes deployment and recovery together with the deployment as a carrier platform for an underwater drilling rig. Further than this, MUM is looking forward to your application.

Project goal

The main goal of the current project phase MUM2 is to develop, build and prove the concept with a full-scale demonstrator. Over-all, the demonstrator will have a length of approximately 25 meters. The initial research MUM1 already demonstrated the feasibil-ity of a modular XLUUV kit from 2017 to 2020.

MUM2 started in spring 2021 and scheduled to end in early 2025. The project will transfer thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ techno-logical leadership in non-nuclear submarines to extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles and their respective systems.

To strengthen national technology sovereignty, the project is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (FKZ: 03SX543A).

For further information, please visit the project’s website: