ARLINGTON, Va. --- Even as Textron is awaiting a decision to move from development of its Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV) into production, the company also has its eye on using the vessel for missions such as surface warfare and amphibious operations.
Wayne Prender, the senior vice president for applied technologies and advanced programs at Textron, told USNI News last week that 2019 was a productive year for what the company had called the Common USV (CUSV), which the Navy now calls MCM USV.
Textron moved from one test vehicle to four, to accommodate testing not only the original minesweeping system the Navy had planned but also minehunting with the Raytheon AN/AQS-20 and the Northrop Grumman AN/AQS-24 sonars. The company established a second test facility in Panama City, Fla., in addition to the work already being done at the South Florida Test Facility. The MCM USV with the Unmanned Influence Sweeping System (UISS) conducted two integration events with USS Independence (LCS-2) in California, and the craft conducted vessel-of-opportunity integration tests with both the American expeditionary sea base Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) and the British RFA Mounts Bay (L3008)
“We are on the precipice of getting Milestone C” acquisition decision to move into low-rate initial production, Prender said, after “a very busy 2019 that saw us go from one craft to four craft operating at times in up to three simultaneous test locations. And now we’re ready to move into production, get these systems out into the fleet, let the sailors continue to use and experiment, get it into the warfight.”
The Navy’s acquisition strategy for the MCM USV separates the common USV hull from its payloads, so once the USV moves past the test phase and into production, it will be easier for the Navy or Marine Corps to field new payloads on it. (end of excerpt)
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