CUSV to next plateau of employment in the maritime domain
The US Navy-Textron Systems team is taking the company’s Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) to its next plateau of employment in the maritime domain. A company executive told MONCh earlier this year that his company continues on its primary CUSV contract, the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) programme: “That’s a mine sweeping programme. But earlier this year we were also awarded a production contract and an integration contract for the mine hunting mission – so now we are doing mine sweeping and mine hunting.”
The service-industry team is moving the CUSV beyond the mine countermeasure mission, to realise its common vision for the vessel to be, “a utility system, a kind of ‘pickup truck on the sea’.” To pursue new CUSV capabilities the two entities entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). “This will allow us to explore new surface warfare packages [weapons payloads] which can be integrated into the CUSV,” he added.
The genesis of using CUSV for more missions occurred during a recent US Navy ANTX (Advanced Navy Technology Exercise). The company executive recalled: “We did some early conceptual development of what this would look like and explored the art of the possible. The result of that was positive feedback from senior Navy leadership regarding using CUSV for new missions such as this.”
During the remainder of this year, Textron is expected to begin integration of mutually agreed upon targeted payloads which the service and supplier think will have utility.
Asked what weapons will be integrated and tested onboard CUSV during the CRADA, the sector expert, responded: “I don’t want to disclose the payloads that we are looking at right now. We’ll refine that plan with the Navy. When it suits everybody we’ll release that information. What I can tell you, is we are looking at autonomous weapons systems, direct fire and indirect fire – a large variety.”