The US Navy has announced the completion of a demonstration of the Greenough Advanced Rescue Craft (GARC) and Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS).

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said that the GARC/TALONS prototype is being evaluated to provide enhanced communication ranges for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Mission Package to help reduce the time to clear a minefield.

LCS Mission Module programme manager Capt Godfrey Weekes said: “This achievement marks an important landmark in the potential acquisition of an enhanced communication range solution for the navy.

“From concept to at-sea demonstration within ten months is quite remarkable and is in alignment with senior navy direction toward rapid acquisition.”

The Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants’ LCS Mission Module Program Office collaborated with the Naval Information Warfare Center, Atlantic, to award a contract for the development, building, integration and demonstration of the prototype.

Earlier this month, the navy announced that a ‘cut steel’ event was held to mark the beginning of production for the first Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ship at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, a shipbuilding firm in Marinette, Wisconsin.

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The MMSC, a littoral combat ship variant, is being built for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the US Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

The steel cutting event marks the initiation of construction efforts for the MMSC, which weighs more than 4,000t.

Prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its shipyard partner FMM have been working on the design of the MMSC with the US Navy since 2017.

The navy said that four MMSC ships will be constructed at FMM, which will result in significant economic benefits for the region.

Representatives of the US Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces participated in the programme.