The U.S. Navy plans to conduct an industry competition for the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) in the current fiscal year, according to a service official. In September, the Navy issued a request for information (RFI) on capabilities that could help it achieve the extended-range vehicle. The service is now reviewing the responses, said Nidak Sumrean, executive director of the program executive office for Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which includes the Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office.
The Navy plans to build five XLUUV vehicles and deliver them to the fleet "in the next couple of years," Sumrean said Oct. 25 at the Unmanned Systems Defense conference in Arlington, Va. The vehicle could support multiple missions, including mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). "The Navy is taking an accelerated approach with industry to leverage existing unmanned undersea vehicle designs that can be modified to rapidly bring additional capabilities to the undersea domain," the Navy wrote in the RFI.
Sumrean also said the Navy's progress outlined on other new unmanned maritime systems, including the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) and the Knifefish UUV. The Navy plans to experiment with the 11-meter-long CUSV in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. CUSV, made by TEXTRON, is designed to hunt and neutralize mines, but could also havemmother uses, including towing, sonar and conducting ISR. Knifefish, a mine hunter built by GENERAL DYNAMICS, will be tested aboard LCS in FY 2017 and is scheduled to be fielded starting in FY 2018. The Navy plans to buy 30 systems, six of which will be for training.