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LUSV plans face critical assessment

13th April 2021 - 17:00 GMT | by Jason Sherman

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Austal USA concept for LUSV. (Photo: Austal USA)

Will the USN have to backtrack on its plans to arm unmanned surface vessels with long-range strike missiles?

The USN has begun a major Congress-mandated assessment to explore the efficacy of pairing a Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) with a vertical launch system (VLS) for firing long-range strike missiles.

Such analysis will shape the composition of unmanned warships in the planned USN hybrid fleet. 

According to the USN FY2021 budget submission, LUSVs and Medium Unmanned Surface Vessels (MUSVs) are intended to be ‘key enablers’ of the Distributed Maritime Operations concept, which includes being able to forward deploy and team with individual manned platforms or battle groups. 

However, the Surface Warfare Division in the Office of Chief of Naval

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