The U.S. Navy plans to issue a request for proposals for acquisition of a new class of unmanned surface vehicles in May, and the contract will be awarded by the close of 2019, USNI News reported Wednesday.
An unclassified document from the service branch shows that the medium-sized vehicles will work as a sensor and communications relay vehicle in support of the Navy’s unmanned systems fleet. The drones should have the capability to operate for at least 60 days, refuel at sea and carry a payload equivalent to a 40-foot shipping container.
Initially, the vehicles will go through an experimentation phase before entering a refinement program. The Navy did not provide further details about the contract, including the price of each vehicle.