Large unmanned surface vessel proposals requested by Navy

WASHINGTON. The U.S. Navy's request for proposals of prototype designs for Large Unmanned Surface Vessels (LUSV) calls for externally-controlled navigation and lengths of about 180 feet and follows the early release of specifications for the first block of corvette-sized LUSVs released in August.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

The final RFP follows an LUSV Industry Day that included over 80 military contractors expressing interest in submitting proposals, according to the Navy. The Navy expects to start procuring the vessels in 2021, when it plans to issue the first contracts for Detail Design and Construction of the drone ships.

The RFP specifies that the LUSV will be a high-endurance, reconfigurable ship with a large-payload capacity to augment the Navy's surface force, and take on a variety of warfare operations either on its own or with manned surface combatants.

It is also expected to be capable of autonomous navigation, maneuvering compliant with international maritime regulations and remote operation by manned warships or control stations. Boeing Co. is already at work on the XLUUV program.