Inspired by the propulsion techniques employed by squid and other cephalopod, a new type of thruster was designed which utilized pulsatile jet propulsion to generate controlling forces. The thrust production from this jet actuator was characterized in a static environment and seen to be well approximated by a simple fluid slug model. A linear transfer function model was derived to describe the transient dynamics of this thruster being employed in a virtual vehicle simulation; which was developed to test the thruster with unsteady driving signals. It was predicted that an impulsive type of thrust (as is found in our jet actuator) is ideal in a non-linear damping environment, since all of the acceleration is being added to the system while its at its lowest velocity and therefore lowest drag. Due to the extremely nonlinear nature of underwater vehicle environments we developed a scaling system to classify regimes of maneuvers and characterize their dynamics independently. Assuming a simple proportional derivative control algorithm, the vehicle closed loop frequency response was predicted using the transfer function model; which was linearized according to the maneuvering regime. Within the hybrid simulation environment, the closed loop frequency response was tested empirically and seen to be well approximated by the model.

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