Well, here’s one that somehow slipped by me. Textron’s Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) has been selected to tow the unmanned influence sweep system (minesweeping) for the LCS MCM module. The CUSV is an 11 meter unmanned surface craft. It has self-righting capability, a draft of a little over 2 ft, data links, remote operator control station, max speed of 28 kts, 24 hr endurance, 1200 nm cruising range, can operate up to sea state 4, and can tow 5000 lb at 10 kts. The payload bay is 14 ft x 6 ft x 3.5 ft.
Textron has a $34M contract to provide a CUSV for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS).
This sounds like a nice little craft for the minesweeping task other than the potentially slow speed and questionable towing capacity. As a point of reference, the standard helo-towed Mk105 minesweeping sled weighs around 9000 lbs fueled and operational. Given the manufacturer’s claim of being able to tow 5000 lb at 10 kts, the 9000 lb Mk105 would most likely be beyond the ability of the CUSV to tow. I’ve been unable to find a detailed description or specs on the UISS so I don’t know the weight of the equipment.
|CUSV - Enough Power To Tow?|
I would desperately like to believe that someone in the Navy looked at the CUSV towing capacity before committing to this but we all recall the fiasco of the original Seahawk type helo being found unable to safely tow its intended MCM equipment. Is this another example of that? Until someone tells me that this craft can actually tow the UISS, I’m going to remain nervous about this.
So, this is a nice little craft that may or may not be suitable for the task. Of course, there’s also the issue of whether it can actually meet its specs. We’ve seen that the MCM module has nice specs but the equipment can’t meet the specs despite years of development.
I’ll keep an eye on this.