Navy asks industry for small-, medium-, and large-size power systems for unmanned surface vessels (USVs)

Feb. 26, 2021
Power systems should support propulsion, ship service, sensors, and mission payloads, and be reliable enough to operate in harsh maritime conditions.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. Navy surface warfare experts are reaching out to industry to find companies able to develop enabling technologies for advanced power generation system for efficient, long-endurance unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

Officials of the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., issued a solicitation (N00014-21-S-SN04) on Wednesday for the Robust Unmanned Platform Power Systems project.

The power generation system should be modular and scalable for small- medium-, and large-size USVs, and support propulsion, ship service, sensors, and mission payloads, and be reliable enough for the naval environment.

Navy surface warship designers are interested in developing low-cost high-endurance reconfigurable ships that can accommodate payloads to help the Navy shift to a more distributed fleet architecture for optionally or lightly manned ships.

Related: Pentagon gets serious about unmanned surface vessels

This project has two technology thrusts: small power systems able to provide 25 to 250 kilowatts of power for small USVs; and large power system able to provide 250 to 2,500 kilowatts for medium- and large-size USVs.

Small power systems should help to reduce maintenance and increase operational availability and endurance of small unmanned surface vessels. Companies should compare their concepts against a commercial marine diesel engine or generator, and account for power level, size, weight, and efficiency.

The small and large power designs should operate with military fuels like NATO F-76, JP-5 and JP-8; have no scheduled maintenance for 4,000 to 8,000 hours; survive marine conditions like salt air ingestion; operate in rough seas; and be scalable to several platforms and power loads.

Related: Navy picks 40 to develop unmanned surface vessels (USVs), sensor-processing payloads, vehicle autonomy

Companies interested should submit white papers no later than 22 March 2021 to Fedconnect at Those submitting promising white papers will be invited to submit full proposals. Several contract awards are expected, and should be announced by the end of September 2021.

Email technical questions to the Navy's Donald Hoffman at [email protected], or Harold Coombe at [email protected]. Email business questions to Leila Hemenway at [email protected].

More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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