Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy continues to build up its unmanned vehicle programs, issuing a request for proposals for the corvette-sized Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle.
The Naval Sea Systems Command on Wednesday issued the RFP, with plans to award multiple conceptual designs for the LUSV, one of three new types of unmanned vehicle the branch is looking to develop.
The RFP, first reported by USNI News, starts a move from the two-hull Ghost Fleet into an actual ship-building program.
Interest in the program is strong, as an industry day earlier this year attracted about 80 companies that are considering jumping into the program.
NSSC said in the request that the LUSV will be a high-endurance, reconfigurable ship to augment the Navy's surface force, and take on a variety of warfare operations either on its own or with manned surface combatants -- and it is expected to be semi- and fully-autonomous, depending on its mission.
The Navy is pushing to develop three separate unmanned vehicles -- the LUSV, a medium unmanned surface vehicle, and the extra-large unmanned undersea vehicle -- and requested $628.8 million from Congress in its 2020 budget for the programs.