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Unmanned low-profile vessels undertake US military testing

Photo: US Marine Corps/ Kevin Ray J. Salvador

American defence company Leidos has sent two unmanned low-profile prototype vessels to US military testing exercises in California.

American defence company Leidos has sent two unmanned low-profile prototype vessels to US military testing exercises in California.

The two Leidos-designed uncrewed and autonomous-capable low-profile vessels (LPV) participated in the US Army’s Project Convergence Capstone 4 military exercise to evaluate their capabilities alongside warfighters.

It’s expected the LPVs low-to-the-water visual profile will assist in reducing probability of detection as the vessels transport a logistics payload of up to five tonnes over a range of 2,000 nautical miles.

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“Leidos once again designed and delivered innovative solutions with these LPVs, and it was great to see them participate in Project Convergence,” according to Dave Lewis, Leidos sea systems business area senior vice-president.

“The prototypes we’ve delivered will help create new disruptive logistics capabilities for the Marine Corps.

“Its low profile and long range are intended to help the vessels achieve a higher mission success rate supporting dispersed Marine fire units than conventional methods.”

Leidos designed the LPVs under contract with MilTech, a Montana State University research lab and an authorised National Government Partnership Intermediary. They were previously delivered to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory for testing and technical assessment in 2023.

Their participation in the joint and multinational Project Convergence Capstone 4 exercises represents the next stage of testing and experimentation with the LPVs and possible future experimentation with different autonomous control systems.

“The delivery of the LPV prototypes complements Leidos’ extensive maritime autonomy portfolio,” a statement published by the company said.

“Leidos-designed and built autonomous vessels recently completed joint naval exercises in the western Pacific as part of the Navy’s Integrated Battle Problem 23.2.

“Last year, Leidos was awarded a US Navy task order to manage, operate, and maintain the Navy’s Overlord and medium unmanned surface vessels.”

Earlier this year, four Leidos-made unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) – the Mariner, Ranger, Seahawk, and Sea Hunter – returned to their home port after travelling 46,651 nautical miles as part of the US Navy’s Integrated Battle Problem 23.2.

The four unmanned surface vehicles completed port visits in Japan and Australia during the deployment, during which the capabilities predominantly utilised autonomous navigation.

Throughout their time at sea, the USVs and personnel from USVDIV-1 collaborated with the Japan Maritime-Self Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy, Carrier Strike Group 1, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and elements in the US 7th Fleet.

Having tested the four USVs, it is expected that USVDIV-1 will gain insights into how the US military can better integrate unmanned systems into the US fleet and determine how the US military can better support the development of unmanned systems.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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