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AUSA 2023: US land forces look to develop maritime surface vessel options for transporting people and equipment

The US Army MSV(L) prototype was delivered in October 2022. (US Army)

As the US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) plan for force distribution in more contested areas, they are examining more options for logistics, resupply, and troop movements – including new medium-sized manned craft as well as unmanned surface vehicles (USVs)

In addition to the army and USMC seeking more ways to move people and materiel from ship to shore, shipbuilders are working to develop designs for new platforms to make those transits.

Army planners with the service's newest cross-functional teams are considering development of a new class of small resupply and logistics USVs to handle those operations in the Indo-Pacific region, according to US Army Colonel Shane Upton, director of the Contested Logistics Cross-Functional Team (CLCFT).

The USV envisioned by the CLCFT will be one “that does not have to dock ... that does not have to go to shore” for extended periods of time, Col Upton said during a briefing on the service's efforts in human-machine teaming, held during the Association of the US Army (AUSA) 2023 annual conference in Washington, DC.

Shortly before AUSA 2023, Major General Jered Helwig, commander of 8th Theater Sustainment Command, told Janes that watercraft will play a key part in keeping the army's armour afloat.

A prototype of the service's Maneuver Support Vessel Light (MSV-L) was delivered to the service in October 2022.

On the USMC side, the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, is building the landing craft utility (LCU) for the US Navy (USN).

“One of the most challenging aspects, is the beaching requirements, we're working through that,” Larry Ryder, Austal USA vice president of Business Development and External Affairs, told Janes .

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