The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to SAIC to develop a new autonomous unmanned surface vessel concept to help counter modern submarine threats.

The $2m contract has a six month performance period and SAIC is one of six companies selected for the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV) phase I of the DARPA programme.

The phase I programme involves activities such as concept exploration, technology surveys, wargaming, risk assessment, and production of a concept design.

The programme will focus on approaches to achieve a low-cost unmanned surface vessel capable of maintaining continuous autonomous track of a threat submarine during its entire operational deployment.

Phases II–IV of the programme will include detailed design, prototype construction and testing, which will be offered under a separate solicitation.