The Marine Corps hopes to field its Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessel between fiscal years 2025 and 2027, according to a general overseeing the boat's development.
Brig. Gen. Eric Austin, director of the capabilities development directorate for Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said during a virtual AUVSI conference today the service is looking to buy three LRUSVs in FY-21 for evaluations and demonstrations.
Those vessels would be used to establish early operational capability in FY-22, he added.
LRUSV is being developed as an 11-meter autonomous boat and is derived from a Strategic Capabilities Office effort called "Sea Mob," SCO's budget documents say little about Sea Mob except that it is a group of USVs capable of "cooperative swarming behaviors."
Following a request for information being published last year, Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, MCCDC chief, characterized LRUSV as particularly important for the Indo-Pacific region.
"Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels for us [are] vitally important because they're lethal. They're not just connectors, they're sniffers. They're out there telling me what's going on. They're passing that information back to me," Smith said during an October 2019 industry event.
"And they're spreading out the enemy because at some point you got to target everything that moves because the one thing that does get through is carrying the lethal package that [the enemy] least needs to be brought to the battlefield at the time and place of our choosing," he continued.