The autonomous ship “Sea Hunter”, developed by DARPA, is shown docked in Portland, Oregon before its christening ceremony April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
The U.S. Navy has awarded contracts to study adding large unmanned vessels to its fleet.
The firm-fixed price contracts, totaling nearly $42 million, were awarded to six companies including Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin, Bollinger Shipyards Lockport, Marinette Marine Corp.; Gibbs & Cox; and Austal USA following an open competition.
Each contract includes an option for engineering support that if exercised would bring the cumulative value for all awards to nearly $60 million.
The contracts were established in order to refine specifications and requirements for a Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) and conduct reliability studies informed by industry partners prior to competition of a Detail Design and Construction contract, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command said in a statement.
“These studies contracts will allow the Navy to harvest the learning from our land- and sea-based prototyping efforts and work directly with industry to refine the requirements for an affordable, reliable, and effective Large Unmanned Surface Vessel and reduce risk for a future design and construction competition,” said Capt. Pete Small, program manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems (PMS 406), within the Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants at Naval Sea Systems Command.
The LUSV program was established to support the Navy’s Future Surface Combatant Force through the development and fielding of low-cost, high-endurance, unmanned vehicles that complement manned surface combatants
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