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DARPA Launches Program to Develop Robotic Sub-Tailing Surface Vessels
To facilitate low-cost, high-volume manufacturing, the vessels' design will employ open standards, commercial off-the-shelf components, and a modular, open-systems approach.
By Cecilia Galvin

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a $2 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), which will be among the first of a new class of ocean-going unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

Under terms of the contract, a Northrop Grumman statement said that the company will develop a concept, specifications, and a manufacturing plan by the end of March 2011 for a persistent, autonomous vessel that can perform ASW tracking and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance functions.

The need for ACTUVs results from new submarine classes that are able to achieve ever-increasing levels of acoustic quieting, a prepared…

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