The US Navy has requested proposals from interested companies for the development of the medium unmanned surface vehicle (MUSV).
Through the request for proposals (RFP), the navy seeks to procure a new class of pier-launched, self-deploying modular, open architecture surface vehicles.
The MUSV should be able to conduct autonomous navigation and mission execution.
In a release, the service stated that the development RFP also includes options for additional USVs.
The US Navy intends to conduct a full and open competitive procurement process in the fiscal year (FY) 2019.
A contract for the development of a single MUSV prototype is expected to be awarded in the first quarter of FY20.
In a statement, the US Navy said: “Accelerating unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and payload development and warfighting integration will provide an inflection point in delivering a more distributed force in support of the National Defense Strategy.”
The RFP comes after the release of a draft MUSV performance specification, which was followed by an MUSV Industry Day in February.
The US Navy has been in discussions with people in the industry to gather inputs and then incorporated the feedback in the RFP.
According to USNI News, the MUSV will ‘function as a sensor and communications relay as part of a family of unmanned surface systems being developed by the service’.
Developers need to build an up to 50m long vehicle that can carry a payload equivalent to a 40ft shipping container.
In addition, the craft should be able to operate on its own for at least 60 days. Other specifications include refuelling at sea capability, and ability to achieve a speed of around 16k with a range of more than 4,500nm.