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Better Hydrodynamic Performance

The AUV/ROV/UUV industry uses HydroComp’s tools to successfully design and analyze the propulsion package for their vehicles and submersibles. Better hydrodynamic performance for UVs leads to greater speed and reduced power requirements for propulsion, allowing more power to be applied to sensors and more efficient data collection.

Accurate Predictions of Vehicle Power

Underwater vehicle designers require unique analytical capabilities to provide effective and efficient solutions to challenging subsea problems. Our tools – NavCad, PropElements, PropCad, and PropExpert – provide the critical capabilities necessary for vehicle designers and researchers to better understand and simulate vessel hydrodynamics, propulsion performance, power requirements, vehicle range, and energy budgets. Using HydroComp’s fully integrated design and analysis tools allows designers to avoid multiple disconnected spreadsheets, utilities and other a-la-cart solutions.

For a deeper discussion about the thruster design process, click to:
Contemporary UUV Propulsor Design
Commercial and Unmanned Maritime Systems: Present and Future

Propulsion System Analysis and Sizing

HydroComp NavCad® software is able to estimate the drag of streamlined (“body-of-revolution”) UVs and quantify the impact on propulsion power from the addition of control surfaces, antenna, and other appendages. NavCad can also be used to size open or ducted propellers (thrusters) to predict thrust, torque, RPM, and power over a wide range of operating conditions. An accurate prediction of vehicle power over the full mission speed range is critical when sizing other components such as electric or hydraulic motors, battery storage, or drive-line components. When battery budget is an important design issue – as it is for UVs – improving propulsion efficiency can increase time on station or improve effectiveness of sensor components.

Propeller and Thruster Design

HydroComp PropElements® software is capable of more in-depth propeller performance analysis. PropElements is capable of generating a custom wake-adapted propeller design for your underwater vehicle. The hydrodynamic flow or wake around the vehicle is considered in the design resulting in a propulsor with improved efficiency over stock “off-the-shelf” designs.

Expert Engineering Services

​HydroComp is regularly asked to design UV thrusters and propellers for specific applications, with dozens of different HydroComp designs operating in the farthest reaches of the ocean. The choice between acquiring design software or adding our expertise to your team depends on how much you want to own the thruster design process. For some customers who wish to concentrate their efforts on their vehicle design and production, a HydroComp-designed custom thruster is always an effective and economical option.

Recommended software for Underwater Vehicles


  • Resistance and propulsion analysis
  • Surface hulls & subsurface bodies
  • Electric motors, energy budgets
  • Propulsion sizing



  • Wake-adapted propeller design
  • High-efficiency ducted propellers
  • Thrust and power analysis
  • Blade material strength analysis

Hydrodynamic and Propulsion System Design Tools

NavCad by Hydrocomp


The flagship framework for entire resistance, propulsion, mission profile, and optimized performance design tasks

PropElements by HydroComp


HydroComp’s “design for performance” propeller tool to customize and optimize a propeller for a specific ship or vessel type

PropCad by HydroComp


The industry’s most popular commercial tool for propeller “design for manufacture”

PropExpert by Hydrocomp


This “propeller application sizing” tool is the favorite of marine propeller, engine, and drive companies from main-office OEMs through their distribution pipeline