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LIG Nex1 completes Sea Sword 3 USV trials

South Korean defence company LIG Nex1 announced in late July that it has successfully completed sea trials of its Haegum-3 (Sea Sword 3) unmanned surface vehicle (USV).

Development work had been carried out under a two-year public-private joint venture, called ‘The Coastal Security and the Rapid Response Unmanned Surface Vehicle Civil-Military Technology Commercialization Support Program', between 2019 and 2021.

The Sea Sword 3 USV undergoing sea trials. (LIG Nex1)

The Sea Sword 3 USV undergoing sea trials. (LIG Nex1)

The USV has been optimised for coastal operations and can be used to perform various types of missions with the appropriate mission equipment, including a surveillance and reconnaissance suite. It will also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-driven autonomous navigation/obstacle avoidance technology.

It was put through a seaworthiness trial in May, proving its ability to operate without supervisory personnel aboard in conditions of up to Sea State 4.

The displacement and physical characteristics of the Sea Sword 3 USV are understood to be comparable with that of the Sea Sword 2. Janes had earlier reported that the latter – which features a displacement of 11 tonnes – has an overall length of 12 m and a 3.5 m beam.

However, Sea Sword 3 can optionally carry up to eight personnel, while Sea Sword 2 can only accommodate up to two personnel.

In terms of weapons, Sea Sword 3 can be equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and a 2.75-inch calibre-guided rocket launcher towards the stern, unlike the preceding Sea Sword 1 and 2 designs.

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