Fleet-class unmanned surface vessel

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Fleet class USV.jpg
A Fleet class vessel in 2012
Class overview
Builders: AAI, Inc.
Operators: United States Navy
Cost: Approximately 33 Million USD
Built: 2008-present
Completed: 4
Active: 4
General characteristics
Class and type: Fleet
Type: unmanned surface vehicle
Displacement: 7.7 tonnes (7.6 long tons; 8.5 short tons)
Length: 39 ft (12 m)
Beam: 11.2 ft (3.4 m)
Speed: 35 kn (65 km/h)
Endurance: 48 hours
Boats and landing
craft carried:
None
Troops: None
Complement: None
Crew: None
Aircraft carried: None
Aviation facilities: None

The Fleet class USV is an Unmanned Surface Vessel designed for the United States Navy to be deployed from Freedom and Independence-class littoral combat ships[1] and intended to conduct mine and anti-submarine warfare missions. As of 2012 four units of the class had been built; the first was delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2008.

Design and development[edit]

Developed by AAI Corporation, General Dynamics Robotic Systems, and Maritime Applied Physics,[2][3] the Fleet class Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) is a small, semi-planing hull craft that is intended to operate in an optionally manned configuration to conduct anti-submarine warfare, special warfare, mine warfare and electronic warfare missions from littoral combat ships of the Freedom and Independence classes, being constructed using modular design to allow for rapid changes of mission through replacement of modules.[3] 39 feet (12 m) in length and displacing 7.7 tons, the Fleet class is capable of speeds of over 35 knots (65 km/h) and can carry up to 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of equipment.[3][4] The Fleet class is designed to operate for up to 48 hours without interruption.[5]

Designed to match the weight and handling limits of a conventional rigid-hulled inflatable boat,[6] the hull of the Fleet class USV is designed for good seakeeping in most sea states, and the vessels are equipped with advanced controls for autonomous navigation and operation.[4] They are also designed to be converted to manned operation through the replacement of mission modules within a 24 hour period.[7]

As part of the LCS Mine Countermeasure (MCM) mission package, the boats will act as the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS), where they will tow a countermeasure system that emits acoustic and magnetic signals to trigger and detonate influence mines at a safe distance. It is also capable of carrying other counter-mine payloads, including a side scan sonar and minehunting and sweeping unmanned underwater vehicles.[8]

The vessels of the Fleet class are the first unmanned vessels to be numbered as ships of the United States Navy.[4]

Operational history[edit]

The first Fleet class USV, 11MUC0601, was delivered to the United States Navy's Naval Undersea Warfare Center in May 2008; the second vessel of the class entered service the following month.[4] The vessels of the class are currently undergoing testing by the Navy; if successful, Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is scheduled for around 2015.[9]

In October 2014, Textron Systems won a $33.8 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the Fleet-class as the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV). 52 boats are to be produced to equip 24 MCM mission packages with two vessels each, along with six for training and replacements.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jane's Navy International: Volume 113. London: Jane's Information Group. 2008. p. 60. 
  2. ^ "Fleet-Class Common Unmanned Surface Vessel". AAI, Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  3. ^ a b c Sobie, Brendan (24 August 2010). "AUVSI: Making a splash". Flightglobal. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  4. ^ a b c d "GD Delivers First USV To US Navy For LCS". SpaceWar. SpaceDaily. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  5. ^ Shachtman, Noah (9 October 2007). "Navy Plots Unmanned, Heavily Armed Fleet". Wired Magazine. New York. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  6. ^ Scott, Richard (25 March 2008). "New-generation USVs offer increased mission diversity". IHS Jane's Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis. London: Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  7. ^ "The Navy Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Master Plan". United States Navy. 23 July 2007. p. 62. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  8. ^ a b LCS to get unmanned mine-sweeping boats, drones - Defense-Update.com, 9 October 2014
  9. ^ "The Navy Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Master Plan". United States Navy. 23 July 2007. p. 84. Retrieved 2012-04-20.