Navy’s Medium USV to Be Based on Commercial Vehicle

An artist’s conception of the L3Harris MUSV. L3HARRIS TECHNOLOGIES

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV) being designed and built by L3Harris Technologies will be a purpose-built commercially derived vehicle, the company said in an Aug. 19 release. 

Although the Navy’s selection of Camden, New Jersey-based L3Harris was announced by the Defense Department on July 13, the company’s own Aug. 19 announcement provided a few additional program details. 

“L3Harris will integrate the company’s ASView autonomy technology into a purpose-built 195-foot commercially derived vehicle from a facility along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana,” the announcement said. “The MUSV will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the fleet while maneuvering autonomously and complying with international collision regulations, even in operational environments.” 

As prime contractor, L3Harris will be the lead systems integrator for the MUSV program and will provide the mission autonomy and perception technology for the vessel. Gibbs & Cox and Incat Crowther will design the vessel, which will be constructed by Swiftships in Morgan City, Louisiana. 

Naval Sea Systems Command awarded to L3Harris a $35 million fixed-price-incentive-firm-target contract for the design and fabrication of a prototype MUSV. 

This contract includes “options for up to eight additional MUSVs, logistics packages, engineering support, technical data, and other direct costs, which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of this contract to $281 [million],” the Pentagon announcement in July said. 

The prototype MUSV is expected to be completed by December 2022. 

“The MUSV program award reinforces our investments in the unmanned market and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bring mission-critical capabilities to our warfighters,” Sean Stackley, president of integrated mission systems for L3Harris, said in the Aug. 19 release. “L3Harris is continuing to develop a full range of highly reliable and affordable autonomous maritime capabilities to enable distributed maritime operations in support of the National Defense Strategy.”