Navy to brief industry on LUSV program

By Abby Shepherd / May 21, 2024 at 11:16 AM

The Navy's Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants will brief industry members on how the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel program will impact surface warfare during an upcoming industry day.

The industry day, planned for June 10, will allow feedback from potential contractors on the development and procurement of future vessels. The program will highlight “the LUSV program vision and objectives; the program schedule; and the engineering/technical requirements and objectives,” according to a Monday notice.

No contract or award will be granted based on this announcement, the Navy clarified. The event will be in the Washington, DC metro area, with access only allowed for Defense Department contractors.

In March, the Navy slowed the LUSV program’s pace -- with the fiscal year 2025 funding request postponing planned procurement of the lead vessel by two years. The LUSV’s research and development funding request was also reduced by $74 million, bringing it to $54 million.

Service officials cited technical challenges within LUSV, as well as funding caps imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“Where we have one or two unmanned systems that we’re experiencing technical difficulty with, we’re working to ‘re-phase’ those across the ‘future years defense program.’ So LUSV, for example, we are moving that from FY-25 to FY-27,” Rear Adm. Ben Reynolds, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for budget and the service’s fiscal management division director, told reporters in early March.

Following this cut from the Navy, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Bryan Clark told Inside Defense that LUSV could eventually be cut definitively, despite the service’s need for unmanned platforms.

“LUSV was always kind of a questionable use case,” Clark told Inside Defense in March. “And it was expensive: you’re looking at a couple-hundred-plus-million-dollar-ship. So, I think it’s likely to go away.”