AAI Common Unmanned Surface Vessel

Grey Havoc

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An unsolicited proposal from AAI to the USN for a new Fleet class USV. AAI built two prototypes on it's own dime, which the USN evaluated during the recent Trident Warrior exercises. Despite apparently doing well, there doesn't seem to be any prospect for USN orders in the near future. MAPC (Maritime Applied Physics Corporation) assisted with the design.


The CUSV utilizes a modular architecture that accommodates platform reconfiguration and interchangeable payloads. This common vessel is capable of executing mine warfare; anti-submarine warfare; communications relay; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; anti-surface warfare; and UAS/UUV launch and recovery missions.

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems

In this exercise, one CUSV played the hunting dog, locating the mine with sonar. Then the other, the hunter, launched an even smaller unmanned vehicle, a kind of smart torpedo called a Sea Fox, to destroy the mine. A single human operator controlled the CUSV from shore, while a second operator ran the Sea Fox. The artificial intelligence on board the craft is largely borrowed from the widely used Shadow drone.

The Trident Warrior exercise happened close to shore, a reasonable simulation of conditions in the Strait of Hormuz should Iran try to mine the chokepoint of the Persian Gulf. For open ocean missions the CUSV could be launched from a larger vessel, like the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships -- the CUSV can be carried by either variant -- before launching the Sea Fox or other mini-submersibles.

It's sort of Russian nesting dolls with robots. Tactically, "it buys you battle space," said Stan DeGeus, the AAI executive who went over the CUSV program with AOL Defense at last week's AUVSI unmanned technologies conference: The manned mothership can keep its distance or even flee while the robo-boats go forth to meet the threat. True, CUSVs can't make the speed of helicopters. They're a lot cheaper, and because they're far more fuel-efficient they can stay on station for days at a time, including operating at night, when it would be too dangerous to fly helicopters at low altitudes to hunt mines with towed sonar arrays.

.....But AAI's also experimented with using a CUSV as an unmanned patrol boat to warn off intruding surface vessels with recorded messages, broadcast over a kind of super-loudspeaker called a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). Other missions up for consideration including hunting submarines, jamming enemy transmissions, and even transporting Navy SEALs.
 

Grey Havoc

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The UISS program can be seen as a desperate last ditch attempt to provide the LCS with a working MCM capability, but it might just help get CUSV a contract.

The specifics of the UISS are still undecided. That’ll be a job for Ashton and the Navy to work out with an industry excited for the robo-sweeper contract. (The AAI Corporation, for instance, hopes its Common Unmanned Surface Vessel will become the basis for the UISS.) The current plan is to get the UISS out into the fleet by 2017. If Ashton can pull that off, adversaries might have cause to flip the Navy’s adage: Mine if you must.
 

Grey Havoc

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A. Mission Description and Budget Item Justification

(1) AN/SQQ-32(V)4 High-Frequency, Wide Band (HFWB) is a technology upgrade to the AN/SQQ-32 Towed Body which will incorporate HFWB technology into
the detection sonar to address performance deficiencies against new mine threats in the littorals. This upgrade will be installed on MCM-1 Class ships with the AN/
SQQ-32(V)3 and will develop new transducer modules, fiber optic cable and modify topside processing and display software. 2) Mine Warfare and Environmental
Decision Aids Library (MEDAL) is a software segment on the Global Command and Control System - Maritime (GCCS-M). MEDAL provides mine and mine warfare
planning and evaluation tools and databases to the MCM Commander. 3) Develop and implement Mine Countermeasures Commander's Estimate of the Situation
(MCM CES). 4) Unmanned Surface Sweep System (US3) is a magnetic/acoustic sweep system developed to sweep acoustic/magnetic influence mines, and when
integrated with an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) becomes the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

FY12 Congressional reduction for Program Execution ($8.9M) is shown as a reduction to project 0260, Remote Minehunting System. After further review of the
Congressional action, the Navy has determined that Congressional intent was to apply the reduction to project 1233, Surface MCM Mid-life Upgrade (-$3.045M) and
project 2131, Assault Breathing System (-$5.855M). The Navy will make this adjustment during FY12 execution and the change will be reflected in future budget
submissions."

Link
 

jsport

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eshelon said:

others might agree..Bell/T/A is again too large.. too costly, too etc., etc. $ won't go to innovation though. not much learning at all out there.
 

Grey Havoc

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Updated company link: http://www.textronsystems.com/products/unmanned/cusv
 

bobbymike

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http://www.c4isrnet.com/articles/textron-testing-common-unmanned-surface-vehicle
 

Grey Havoc

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A couple of articles from back in February and April, respectively:

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a $13 million order late last week to the Textron Systems Corp. Autonomy & Control Systems segment in Hunt Valley, Md., for an additional low rate initial production unit of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) unmanned patrol boat.

The UISS is one of the counter-mine warfare systems that will enable the Navy littoral combat ship to perform mine warfare sweep missions. UISS will target acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic and acoustic combination mine types only. The UISS program provides rapid wide-area mine clearance to neutralize magnetic and acoustic sea mines in a small, lightweight package.

The UISS uses the Textron Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV), which will travel aboard the LCS and deploy as necessary to detect, pinpoint, and trigger explosive sea mines hidden under the surface intended to damage or destroy surface warships or commercial shipping.

The system consists of the CUSV unmanned power boat that tows an acoustic and magnetic minesweep system that emits acoustic and magnetic signals that provide a false signature that triggers mines. The surface vessel operates far enough away so that it will not be damaged by a detonating mine, Navy officials say.

The UISS uses the Navy's Multiple Vehicle Communications System (MVCS) aboard the LCS, which handles communications between the LCS surface ship and different mission packages, including the UISS, that involve mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare.

For the MVCS the Navy is using the AB3100H embedded computer from Astronics Ballard Technology in Everett, Wash. The AB3100H rugged computer is part of the company's AB3000 line of small, lightweight embedded computers with the Intel E680T processor, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429/708/717 interfaces, Ethernet, USB, video, audio, and PMC expansion.

The AB3000 series from Astronics Ballard Technology comes with factory-installed PCI mezzanine card (PMC) modules that enable designers to add an Ethernet switch, synchronous and asynchronous serial interfaces, and isolated double-throw relays.

The Textron CUSV and its unmanned maritime command and control station use a modular architecture that accommodates platform reconfiguration and interchangeable payloads.

This CUSV unmanned boat can handle mine warfare; anti-submarine warfare; communications relay; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; anti-surface warfare; and UAS/UUV launch and recovery missions.
 
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