Navy seeks to advance DARPA's sub-tracking USV technology in FY-19

By Justin Katz / February 26, 2018 at 1:29 PM

The Navy wants to begin initial concept design efforts and an analysis of alternatives in fiscal year 2019 for a new unmanned surface vehicle that has already seen preliminary success at the Defense Department's preeminent research agency.

The medium displacement unmanned surface vehicle (MDUSV) is a continuation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's anti-submarine warfare "continuous trail" unmanned vessel, also called Sea Hunter. DARPA's program for the vessel, which would focus on tracking diesel electric submarines, transitioned to the Office of Naval Research at the end of January.

MDUSV, a new start in the Navy's FY-19 budget, is seeking $2.8 million for concept design efforts to be done between the first quarter of FY-19 and the second quarter of FY-20, according to Navy budget justification documents. That money would also fund an analysis of alternatives to be conducted during the second quarter of FY-20 and the first quarter of FY-21.

"Two development contracts will be competitively awarded in FY23 following a notional [milestone] B decision," the budget documents said.

Further, the budget documents noted MDUSV is an "ideal candidate for an accelerated acquisition approach and that will be evaluated as an option."

MDUSV is a part of the Navy's future surface combatant strategy which will be "optionally manned and will operate autonomously while collaborating with the U.S. Navy combatants. . . . Expected missions include electronic warfare, anti-surface warfare, strikes, or others," according to the budget documents.