Textron Systems Unmanned Systems has commenced water testing for the fourth-generation Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) in support of the US Navy's unmanned influence sweep system (UISS) programme.

The testing follows completion of design, development and component test phases of the UISS programme in November last year.

After completing component testing, Textron Systems has started the systems level integration and test (I&T) phase that will conclude in dockside and on-water testing in Lake Pontchartrain, near its Marine and Land Systems facility in Louisiana, US.

"We are looking forward to beginning to apply our critical technology to protect our naval warfighters."

Textron Systems Unmanned Systems Control and Surface Systems vice-president Wayne Prender said: “We are excited to begin system level testing of our first UISS system with mine countermeasure capabilities for the US Navy.

“Unmanned technology has come such a long way, and we are looking forward to beginning to apply our critical technology to protect our naval warfighters.”

The I&T phase involves functional testing of the system's integrated generators, datalinks, engines, and on-water manoeuvrability testing.

Later this year, Textron Systems will conduct formal tests to validate system functionality with the US Navy after carrying out the builders' trials upon completion of I&T.

The company’s fourth-generation CUSV is a multi-mission unmanned surface vehicle that features a large, configurable payload bay.

Since its first demonstration in 2009, the CUSV variations have amassed more than 2,000 on-water operational hours.

The craft has the capability to carry multiple payloads, which includes mine neutralisation, nonlethal weapons, side-scan sonar, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors.

In 2012, Textron Systems successfully completed an in-water demonstration of its second Fleet-class CUSV in New Orleans, in Louisiana, US.