The Mississippi Gulf Coast is playing a role in the development and future of unmanned surface vessels.
The future of Naval Operations and Maritime Innovation is happening on the Coast with the development of an automated unmanned surface vessel. Leidos Business Area Manager Bob McCummins said, “Part of the whole project right now is how the Navy can use these unmanned systems in conjunction with the fleet.”
Fortune 500 company Leidos is developing a Sea Hunter II in part at its facility in Long Beach where much of the engineering, simulations, and program management assembly takes place.
Leidos is working in conjunction with United States Marine Incorporated to assemble the craft.
While the Sea Hunter II will provide a critical national security role, right now it’s being constructed here in Gulfport and has a big local economic impact. United States Marine, INC CEO Barry Dreyfus said, “You have our shop supplies, rags, absorbent rags, bathroom materials, all that is now another usage. It’s going to be the things we have to buy from the community to support the building processes and to support those jobs.”
Leidos officials say the excitement of a project like this helps attract and retain employees from regional universities like Southern Miss and Mississippi State as well. “We do these program of national importance. We do all the controls systems, the electronics, the sensors, and for these unmanned systems, and it’s very exciting. So, it is very easy for us to recruit and retain our super talented engineers.”
With six months until sea trials on the vessel begin here on the Coast, the possibilities that the vessel and its sister Sea Hunter I offer for the Navy are endless. “It’s really good for doing projects that are dull, dangerous, or dirty. So, we can keep our sailors out of harm’s way.”