Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle May Take on Missions Beyond Minesweeping

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April 10, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: April 10 on

Now in water testing: an unmanned surface boat designed to launch from the littoral combat ship to assist with the location and destruction of undersea mines.

But according to the boat’s creators at Textron Systems, the technology may have a much broader range of uses in the future. The system in question is the common unmanned surface vehicle [CUSV], a 39-foot vessel that looks much like a driverless motorboat and will be equipped to help conduct mine counter-measure warfare missions from Freedom- and Independence-variant LCS. Currently the vehicle is in testing with a minesweeping package, but Wayne Prender, vice president of control and surface systems for Textron Unmanned Systems, said the company is working with the Navy to move into mine-hunting with the system as well.

The full LCS mine-hunting package is set to be completed by the close of 2019, program officials said this month. But beyond that, Textron hopes other uses for the drone boat will present themselves.

“In addition to mine countermeasures, we continue to work and explore other mission sets and scenarios for the CUSV. So we have the mine countermeasure suite, and then continue to expand it along what we envision is a true multi-platform flexible ship,” Prender said.