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A new model of an Optionally Unmanned Surface Vessel (OUSV) has been unveiled by Lockheed Martin. The OUSV concept is a response to the U.S. Navy’s future plan to field Large Unmanned Surface Vessels (LUSV) to perform “shooter” missions, firing strike missiles from Mark 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells hidden in 40-foot ISO shipping containers.
The OUSV model fits within the U.S. Navy’s optionally unmanned surface vessel program of Medium Unmanned Surface Vessels (MUSV) as the “sensors” and Large Unmanned Surface Vessels (LUSVs as the “shooters”) to form the U.S. Navy’s “Kill Web” network to link “sensors-to-shooters” for an optionally unmanned fleet.
The OUSV draws from the Aegis radar system to network and link with the Mark 41 VLS cells transported in 40-foot ISO shipping containers on its (optionally unmanned) ship platform deck for greater Distributed Maritime Operations and Distributed Lethality. Doing this aids the U.S. Navy fleet in spreading the weapons and ship formation further apart for increased missile strike surprise and ship and fleet survivability, according to navalnews.com.
The platform’s open deck allows for easier logistical reloading and rearming of strike missiles by just removing and swapping out the 40-foot ISO shipping containers by crane since warship VLS cells, once fired, cannot be currently replenished at sea. Therefore, the Fleet Commander can mix-and-match VLS missiles to suit a variety of mission needs and requirements by just replacing ISO containers on deck.
The OUSV can transport and fire all the missiles in the Mark 41 VLS missile inventory portfolio, from defense as close to a few miles out with ASROC to over 1,000+ miles with Tomahawk cruise missiles.