The United States Navy asked Lockheed Martin and five other shipbuilding companies to develop concepts for the service’s future Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV).
The ship must be able to support the Navy’s existing manned fleet in various maritime missions.
The craft should also be able to carry up to 40 tons of personnel and cargo and integrate advanced sensors and high-powered weapons.
The United States Navy requires the LUSV to be capable of operating in harsh sea conditions with waves up to 13 feet, operating for up to 90 days without a human crew.
In addition to Lockheed Martin ($11.3 million), Huntington Ingalls ($13.1 million), Marinette Marine ($10.2 million), Austal ($9.1 million), Gibbs & Cox ( $9 million) and Bollinger Shipyards ($9.4 million) were also selected for the LUSV project.
Once concepts have been formulated and approved, the successful vendor will proceed to the early stages of development, employing crucial technologies developed as part of the Sea Hunter project.
The prototype is expected to be 200 to 300 feet long, one-third the size of future US Navy frigates.
It must also generate up to 75 kilowatts of power to support its electronic payloads.
When deployed, the LUSV will be used alongside U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships to move personnel and supplies quickly, affordably and with minimal risk.
The drone could also carry electronic warfare, anti-surface warfare and land strike payloads.
The six companies involved in the conceptualization phase will have until September 2024 to submit their LUSV concepts.