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Serco Team to Enter 2nd Phase of DARPA’s Unmanned Surface Vessel Project

Serco Group‘s U.S. subsidiary and industry partners will begin the second leg of an unmanned surface vessel development and demonstration program spearheaded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

As part of Phase 2 of the No Manning Required Ship program, DARPA said Monday the team’s medium USV concept dubbed Defiant is expected to undergo a series of tests following design completion and ship construction.

Efforts will culminate in a three-month sea demonstration event to determine the MUSV’s reliability in performing tactical missions while carrying a significant payload.

Highlighting the initiative’s goals, Gregory Avicola, program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said, “We will enable methods of deploying and maintaining very large fleets of unmanned surface vessels that can serve as partners, across the globe, for the larger crewed combatants of the U.S. Navy.”

The upcoming 210-metric ton MUSV-class ship is envisioned to feature distributed hybrid power generation as well as utilize podded propulsors and high-capacity batteries. Defiant’s major system components are also modularized to ensure compatibility with common repair equipment.

Work is being conducted by Serco Inc. and its industry collaborators: Beier Integrated Systems, DRS Naval Power Systems, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Metron, Submergence Group and Thrustmaster of Texas Inc.

The team finished the conceptual design phase of the DARPA program in September 2021.

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