The Navy's Unmanned Maritime Systems program office and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport recently hosted an industry information day as the government develops its acquisition strategy for the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) program.
The Navy is looking to large and small businesses, including small business innovative research, to meet its program needs.
"This specialized industry day further highlights efforts of NAVSEA and the program executive offices to engage businesses of all kinds, especially small businesses who can offer innovative solutions across our portfolios," said Bill Deligne, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) executive director. "We awarded almost $2.5 billion in contracts to small businesses in fiscal year 2016 and we continue to see the return on investment as they support our programs' mission critical work."
Intended to inform the industrial base on the restructured LDUUV program and potential business opportunities and roles, the September forum attracted 265 industry participants representing 138 large and small companies. The Navy has designated NUWC Division Newport as the Government Lead Systems Integrator (GLSI) for LDUUV.
NUWC Division Newport's Christopher Egan, technical project manager, provided a description of opportunities for industry to participate in LDUUV prototyping and UUV prototyping efforts while Capt. Bill Guarini, program manager of Unmanned Maritime Systems, gave an update on the LDUUV program.
"Ensuring our industry partners are aware of the acquisition opportunities in the LDUUV program will ultimately help us deliver the best products and services to support the warfighter," Guarini said.
The LDUUV program comprises a new class of large-displacement unmanned undersea vehicles intended to provide increased endurance, range and payload capabilities. Capable of being stowed, launched and recovered by multiple host platforms, including littoral combat ships, Virginia-class submarines and Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, the system is being designed for intelligence, surveillance and mine countermeasure missions. The vehicles are based on a modular, open architecture that will allow the Navy to incrementally develop new mission sets for the craft.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems Frank Kelly provided a briefing on the Navy's plan for unmanned undersea systems. Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, director for Unmanned Warfare Systems, re-affirmed the importance of UUVs as a part of the Navy's undersea dominance vision. Together they offered insight into UUV goals, undersea strategy, and warfighting contributions for unmanned warfare systems.
In May 2016, NUWC Division Newport released a request for information seeking information on industry capabilities and systems engineering trade space to inform the Navy's LDUUV plan. Earlier in the year, the Navy had announced plans to shift the LDUUV program acquisition strategy to include prototyping and to use NUWC Division Newport as GLSI. The change is part of a broader Navy effort to insert innovation and agility into the acquisition stream via prototyping and rapid capability development.
The Unmanned Maritime Systems program is part of Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships. The program office is responsible for the development, acquisition, delivery and maintenance of effective unmanned maritime systems, including both unmanned underwater and surface vehicles.
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