The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has awarded Sea Machines a $3 million multi-phase contract to develop an autonomous full-scale ocean-going replenishment platform.
The contract builds on an earlier multi-year Other Transaction (OT) agreement between Sea Machines and the DoD to engineer, build and demonstrate ready-to-deploy system kits capable of transforming existing commercial barges into platforms that can land and replenish military aircraft. This work is now transitioning from the proof of concept stage to a design and trial stage.
The prototype kits will include the company’s SM300 autonomous command and control systems. The kits will increase logistical options through expanding the supply of shipping. Each modular kit will meet U.S. Navy criteria and will be in compliance with classifications and regulations from the DoD’s aviation bodies.
“As a leading developer of autonomous control systems, Sea Machines is bringing innovation and modern design to the DoD,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines. “The extension of our contract represents the intersection of traditional sectors, such as government, and the capabilities of autonomous technology. Our extended contract represents the confidence the DoD has in our technology and ability to deliver.”
The end goal of this project is to successfully deploy the autonomous control kit on multiple barges to increase DoD’s agility in deploying and replenishing assets globally.
“This program is a perfect example of autonomous technology opening up new operational capabilities and leveraging new technology for operational advantages,” Johnson added.
FOSS Maritime will assist Sea Machines in the deployment of this project by providing naval architecture, support engineering, and operations management to outfit a remotely commanded deck barge able to land helicopters and host a scaled fuelling station for aircraft, surface vessels and shore replenishment.