Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced the start of the second phase of its program of development of unmanned vessels, known as Ghost Fleet Overlord.
Naval Sea Systems Command on Tuesday announced the transition from the first to second phase of development, which officials say will help inform development and use of the branch's eventual USV fleet.
The first phase was dedicated to converting commercial fast supply vessels into USVs, or unmanned surface vessels, for testing. It centered on reliability tests, with over 600 hours of successful autonomous testing,
In the second phase, contracts were awarded to the two industry teams involved in the first phase to concentrate on integration of command-and-control systems and payloads, with more complex experimentation.
The Navy issued a request for proposals on Sept. 5 for the award of multiple conceptual design contracts for the Large USV in Fiscal Year 2020.
A RFP for the development of the Medium USV was issued in July. It has budgeted $400 million in Fiscal Year 2020 for two of the USVs in its research and development budget line. It intends to purchase two per year year until FY 2024, for a total of about $2.7 billion.