Textron Systems' common unmanned surface vehicle (CUSV) has been selected as the mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (MCM USV) intended to support the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) minehunting and neutralisation mission, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) confirmed on 10 January.
CUSV completed systems integration and testing at the end of 2016 and currently is going through contractor testing in Louisiana, Captain Jon Rucker, NAVSEA programme manager for unmanned maritime systems, told reporters at the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium in Arlington, Virginia, held 10-12 January. Subsequently, the system will be shifted over with "modularity for future capabilities" to the US Navy (USN), will go through developmental tests, and then will be delivered to the fleet, Capt Rucker said.
"The MCM USV ... initial mission that we are looking at is support for the LCS minehunting and mine neutralisation [task], and down the road potentially other capabilities", he added. "We're looking at putting two of those systems on contract in the next month or so."
Capt Rucker stated that the MCM USV will be delivered with two different sonar systems: the AN/AQS-24 and AN/AQS-20 towed sonars, with the AN/AQS-20 being fitted for the LCS platform to replace the remote minehunting vehicle programme, which was cancelled.
The AN/AQS-20 towed sonar incorporates five separate sonars in a compact, lightweight, underwater towed body that uses imaging sonars, signal processing, computer algorithms, and an electro-optical identification sensor capable of locating and identifying bottom, close-tethered, and moored sea mines.
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