US Navy’s new force structure set to boost the global maritime unmanned vehicle market, says GlobalData

Following the recent news that the Pentagon wants the Navy to have more than 500 ships by 2045;

Captain (Rtrd) Nurettin Sevi, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation:

“The US Government is hoping that implementing a modern and distributed force structure to the US Navy will allow it to operate effectively both in open seas and littoral waters. However, the more immediate benefit of the plans to contract 140 unmanned surface and 240 underwater vehicles will be the defense companies who are already vying for contracts.

“The US Navy has been making several investments, including awarding a $35m contract to L3 Technologies for the development of a prototype medium unmanned surface vehicle (MUSV), which could grow to $281m if options for eight follow-on craft are exercised; and a $42m contract awarded to Huntington Ingalls (HII), Lockheed Martin, Bollinger Shipyards, Marinette Marine, Gibbs & Cox and Austal USA for Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) studies. Moreover, the Navy aims to procure extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles (XLUUV) at a rate of two per year from FY2023, in addition to the XLUUV being built by Boeing.

“With the implementation of this plan, leading companies are likely to increase their investments and it is expected to enhance cooperation between companies in artificial intelligence and advanced material technology, which are critical in the construction of unmanned systems.

“In order to enable unmanned and manned platforms to operate together, significant changes and modifications will need to be made in the existing task organizations, operational doctrines and operator training. Unmanned vehicles are being used for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as mine countermeasure operations. Once they have matured and proven autonomous systems, they will be used along with the manned platform in other operations – primarily underwater threats.”

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