2023 Recap: Textron Systems brings new maritime capabilities to the Warfighter
Textron Systems made great strides in the maritime space over the course of 2023, both through expanded support of our customers and advancements in our solutions’ capabilities and qualifications. Combined, we have brought new capabilities to the warfighter and continue to develop new features to support the missions of the future.
Through a combination of delivering contracted systems and being awarded new contracts, our support of the U.S. Navy has expanded vastly throughout the year. Textron Systems grew our Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) support to the U.S. Navy via our Aerosonde® Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) from four to seven vessels over the course of 2023. This includes the expansion of the Aerosonde system’s support to a new class of ship, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), joining the previous support aboard Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) shipboards and Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG).
In addition to our UAS maritime support, we successfully delivered three Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSC), SSC 105, 107 and 108, to the Navy. Built at the Textron Systems shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana each craft was flown away by members of the Test team and piloted to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Panama City where the craft will undergo additional naval testing before being delivered to their home port, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Following these deliveries, SSC 105, 106 and 107 also received a Lift of Opportunity aboard the USS Gunston Hall, traveling from NWSC Panama City to their homeport at ACU 4. This was the first lift of opportunity to feature three craft transitioning simultaneously.
Along with delivering products directly to the Navy, Textron Systems was also awarded a contract for the design, development and integration of the U.S. Navy’s next generation mine sweep system. This system, known as the Magnetic and Acoustic Generation Next Unmanned Superconducting Sweep (MAGNUSS), supports the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Navy’s transition from legacy towed systems to non-towed sweep systems.
Textron Systems is committed to being a market leader and helping set the path forward, participating in both domestic and international naval exercises to test advanced capabilities and mission scenarios. Our Aerosonde Hybrid Quad (HQ) UAS participated in multiple demonstrations during UNITAS, an international naval exercise with an overarching goal to train participating nations, promote interoperability, enhance readiness and strengthen relationships between participating navies. During the 2023 event, the Aerosonde HQ completed a series of successful demonstrations consisting of five flights for 24 hours of total flight time from the USNS Burlington.
In a cross-domain exercise hosted by U.S. Fourth Fleet in Key West, FL, the Aerosonde UAS and CUSV® executed a full live sensor-to-shooter mission exercise. The live-fire event enabled Navy personnel to utilize UAS data in support of tactical decision-making and target engagement by a weaponized unmanned surface vehicle. This exercise follows an effort earlier this year, in which the CUSV participated in a Navy and Office of Undersecretary of Defense Research and Experimentation sponsored Foreign Comparative Test at Anheung Proving Ground to demonstrate enhanced capabilities for a surface warfare-related mission set. Outfitted with the LIG Nex1 Poniard missile system, the CUSV successfully executed multiple fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) missions against a moving target over five different scenarios.
Along with the development and expansion of our proven products, Textron Systems received the Approval in Principle (AIP) for Light Warships, Patrol, and High-Speed Naval Vessels from the America Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for our SECAT™ (Surface Effect Cargo Amphibious Transport) craft. This designation demonstrates the SECAT design is feasible and complies with ABS standards. The SECAT is an advanced logistics connector with unrivaled cargo transportation capabilities, with speeds up to 50 knots and a payload capacity of up to 600 tons.
Textron Systems is dedicated to providing advanced and effective solutions to the U.S. DoD and its allies. We are thrilled to have expanded our support and capabilities over the course of 2023 and are looking forward to continuing Pushing Past Possible in 2024.