Textron moves closer to developing unmanned patrol boats for Navy security and reconnaissance applications

WILMINGTON, Mass., 1 Aug. 2011. Unmanned surface vessel designers from the Textron Systems Corp. Advanced Systems segment in Wilmington, Mass., are taking a step closer to developing autonomous patrol boats for the U.S. Navy with a demonstration last month of the Textron Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) during the Navy's Trident Warrior 2011 experiment in Hampton Roads near Norfolk Naval Base, Va.

Aug 1st, 2011
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WILMINGTON, Mass., 1 Aug. 2011.Unmanned surface vessel designers from the Textron Systems Corp. Advanced Systems segment in Wilmington, Mass., are taking a step closer to developing autonomous patrol boats for the U.S. Navy with a demonstration last month of the Textron Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) during the Navy's Trident Warrior 2011 experiment in Hampton Roads near Norfolk Naval Base, Va.The CUSV unmanned patrol boat and its reconfigurable unmanned vehicle payload bay was fitted with the Navy's Autonomous Maritime Navigation (AMN) during the Trident Warrior exercises July 18 to 22, and loudly hailed and challenged intruding vessels using a pre-recorded message called a Level 1 warning, Navy officials say.The Navy's AMN initiative, in place to demonstrate robotic naval warfare has developed obstacle-avoidance technology and what Navy researchers call sliding autonomy that offers a range of capability from fully autonomous operation to man-in-the-loop intervention, Navy officials say.

Sliding autonomy enables the CUSV and other unmanned surface vessels to make local, over-the-horizon, and operational control decisions onboard the unmanned vessel, using interfaces to the unmanned vessel's maritime command and control system -- based on the One System architecture, developed for unmanned aircraft by engineers at AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md., which is a Textron company. One System can control several different unmanned vehicles with one operator using the system's command-and-control station.

During the exercise, Textron officials report their CUSV autonomous patrol boat was the only fully unmanned vessel with not even a safety rider aboard to participate, and was never unavailable or down for maintenance during the exercise, Textron officials say. The vessel's AMN technology directed the CUSV to perform 30 tasks, or "behaviors," such as monitoring positions and blocking intruding vessels.

Textron experts designed the CUSV also to perform tasks such as mine warfare; antisubmarine warfare; communications relay; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; as well as launching and recovering unmanned aircraft and unmanned surface vessels.

For more information contact Textron Systems online at www.textronsystems.com.

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