The U.S. Navy has contracted L3Harris Technologies to develop a prototype for the Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV) program, the aim of which is to develop an unmanned vessel to support the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations strategy. This strategy, driven by new potential threats in the maritime domain, involves dispersing naval vessels over vast areas and coordinating their operations via a secure communications grid.
The initial contract forms part of a larger award that includes options for a total of nine final production MUSVs. The MUSV will provide ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability to Navy fleets while maneuvering autonomously and complying with international Collision Regulations, even in operational environments. The prototype will be based on a purpose-built 195-foot commercially derived vehicle and fitted with L3Harris’ ASView autonomy technology.
Working from a facility along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, L3Harris will act as the prime contractor and systems integrator, and provide the mission autonomy and perception technology for the vessel. The program team includes Gibbs & Cox and Incat Crowther, who will provide the ship design, and Swiftships, who will complete the construction of the vehicle.
Sean Stackley, President of Integrated Mission Systems at L3Harris, commented: “The MUSV program award reinforces our investments in the unmanned market and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bring mission-critical capabilities to our warfighters. L3Harris is continuing to develop a full range of highly reliable and affordable autonomous maritime capabilities to enable distributed maritime operations in support of the National Defense Strategy.”