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US Navy christens Unmanned Surface Vessel USV Vanguard.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the US DoD on May 6, 2024, the Navy recently christened Vanguard, its newest Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama.
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Unmanned Surface Vessel Vanguard. (Picture source: US Navy)

Vanguard stands out as the first USV built specifically for unmanned operations, marking a milestone under the Pentagon's Overlord program. This program aims to accelerate and refine the Navy's use of unmanned technologies.

The Overlord program has been instrumental in paving the way for unmanned technology within the Navy, offering essential insights for the future Large USV (LUSV) program. The LUSVs will be low-cost, modular platforms that can carry various payloads, playing a crucial role in expanding the Navy's unmanned fleet.

Vanguard will eventually join sister vessels Mariner and Ranger as part of Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One (USVDIVONE), a team tasked with refining operational concepts and training for USVs.

Austal USA and L3Harris played a key role in Vanguard's development and construction. Once outfitted and tested, Vanguard will transit to San Diego to begin operations with USVDIVONE.

Technical data

Developed under the Ghost Fleet Overlord program, their design was adapted from offshore oil industry vessels to integrate advanced autonomy systems. These vessels mesures 193 feet long and 32-foot beam. Each vessel is powered by five 2,000-horsepower diesel engines coupled with waterjets for high-speed. 

The Mariner, specifically, has been designed to function as a mothership for other unmanned vessels, providing command and control capabilities for smaller autonomous units​

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