US Navy will receive a fully autonomous medium-range unmanned surface weapon

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WASHINGTON, (BM) – The U.S. Navy signed a contract with L3 Harris Technologies to develop a prototype of a promising medium-range unmanned surface vehicle (Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle, MUSV), learned BulgarianMilitary.com. According to Navy Recognition, the transaction value amounted to almost $ 35 million.

Read more: US facing Russia with a fleet of reconnaissance armed unmanned subs

The terms of the agreement provide for the possible purchase of eight more drones in case the project receives further funding. In this case, the full amount of the contract may increase to $ 294.5 million.

The U.S. Navy is expected to receive a prototype of a medium surface drone at the beginning of fiscal year 2023 (starting October 1, 2022).

The main requirement for the future drone, which the US military makes, is maximum autonomy. In particular, they want one person to be able to remotely control the device throughout the route.

The drone must perform a number of tasks independently: for example, bypassing obstacles without human intervention and not interfering with the movement of other ships and vessels, avoiding shallows, taking into account the weather. The drone must remain afloat with a five-point excitement and act confidently with a three-point.

Under the conditions presented by the Navy command, it is necessary to provide for the possibility of temporary accommodation on board small groups of combat swimmers or marines who can take control of the MUSV.

The naval command also wants to protect the device from possible capture by the enemy. The implementation of this requirement so far raises questions, since installation of weapons systems on board the drone is not provided.

Read more: The US Navy develops underwater traps for Russian submarines

The main purpose of MUSV is patrolling, reconnaissance and electronic warfare. According to customer requirements, the length of the average marine drone should not exceed 50 meters. It is planned to place two standard sea 40- and 20-foot containers on the deck.

Estimated maximum speed MUSV – up to 27 knots, cruising – at least 16 knots. Cruising range – 4500 nautical miles (8300 km), autonomy – from 60 to 90 days. The device will run on diesel fuel of the NATO F-76 standard, which will allow refueling on the bases of the European allies of the United States. Power plant power – from 300 to 500 kW.

Recall that in the framework of the ACTUV (Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) program in the USA, the surface hunter Sea Hunter (Sea Hunter) has already been created.

The device with high autonomy, capable of being in patrol mode for several months, is primarily intended for tracking down enemy diesel-electric submarines.

US facing Russia with a fleet of reconnaissance armed unmanned subs

As we reported on June 29 the U.S. Department of Defense Analytical Center recommended that the U.S. Navy purchase 50 giant unmanned submarines to protect against potential threats.

Read more: Russia will be the first country to create nuclear underwater drones (UUV), US said

The story began a year ago, in February 2019, when the U.S. Navy signed a contract with a Boeing company to develop and create four ultra-large unmanned submarines for conducting exercises and determining the tactical capabilities of drones.

Apparently, the tests were successful, since the command recommended the purchase of a whole fleet of unmanned submarines XLUUV.

Submarines XLUUV – a fully autonomous ship without a crew. The mass of the submarine is 50 tons. The drone is equipped with a diesel – electric engine with the possibility of autonomous operation in the underwater position for up to several months. The maximum range of up to 12,000 kilometers. The maximum diving depth is up to 3 kilometers. The maximum speed of movement is up to 15 kilometers per hour.

The carrying capacity of an unmanned submarine is 8 tons. To accommodate various cargoes there is a cargo compartment, as well as external fasteners on the body.

The main tasks for which a submarine can be used are:

  • Conducting covert surveillance of enemy objects, ships and submarines. For this, the XLUUV submarine is equipped with a heavy-duty sonar and satellite communications system;
  • A system for launching torpedoes of various classes up to 48 pieces can be installed in the cargo compartment of a boat;
  • The unmanned XLUUV submarine can drop various cargoes, including anti-ship mines.
  • In the surface position, the submarine can be used to launch missiles.
  • In the underwater position, the boat can be used for covert clearance.

Read more: General Dynamics Released the New Bluefin-12 Autonomous Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

The estimated cost of an unmanned submarine is 580 million dollars apiece. In the application for production will be added the ability to launch nuclear missiles. The US Navy plans to use unmanned submarines not only in single missions, but also to escort aircraft carriers.

The United States has long been working in the field of unmanned underwater vehicles

As we reported on April 15 Russian submarines may face the unpleasant surprise that the US fleet is preparing for them.

American experts have stated that at the moment, the US Navy is developing an innovative technology for protecting warships from enemy submarines. The new concept involves the use of special unmanned vehicles that will set traps in the form of anti-submarine mines.

“The Pentagon is concerned about the capabilities of sophisticated Russian and Chinese submarines scouring the seas,” American journalists say.

Representatives of the U.S. Navy emphasize that the current arsenal of weapons is not enough to deal with such dangerous opponents. According to Captain Chris Mervyn, the fleet has at its disposal conventional mines and anti-submarine bombs, but the future lies with unmanned technology.

It is planned that the US Navy will receive the first prototypes of a new anti-submarine weapon already in 2021. A huge bet is being made on these technologies; they are called upon to change the concept of conducting submarine warfare.

Read more: Russia plans to set up a global network of submarine and surface UAVs

According to the authors of Breaking Defense, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US military leadership began to pay insufficient attention to the development of means of combating Russian submarines.

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