Textron’s CUSV Enters Water Testing
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — A new unmanned watercraft being built by Textron for combat roles in the U.S. Navy has reached an important developmental milestone.
The Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) has started water testing, Wayne Prender, Textron Unmanned Systems’ vice president for Control & Surface Systems, told reporters Jan. 12 at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, “representing transition out of the design phase into system-level testing. … The system is now operating in and around the waterways” at the Textron facility in Slidell, La., building on the company’s experience operating the two prototypes.
The CUSV is an unmanned boat designed to tow sensor systems through the water on programmed tracks. The CUSV now is a module of the Mine Countermeasures mission package of the Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS). It is designed to tow the Unmanned Influence Sweep System, but the CUSV also is being looked at as a platform for the AQS-20 and AQS-24 mine-hunting sonar.
“We’re definitely investing in the product,” Prender said. “We’re looking to expand the capabilities [of the CUSV].”
The eventual goal, he said, is to deploy a single system that can detect and engage mines in a single sortie.
Meanwhile, Textron is exploring new missions for the CUSV hosting other payloads, including anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as other potential missions.
“This system [the CUSV] is not limited to operating and deploying from an LCS,” Prender said, noting that the CUSV has conducted tests from the expeditionary transfer dock ship USNS John Glenn. He said the CUSV also can be operated from any ship with a well deck.