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US Marines Arm Long-Range Naval Drone With Loitering Munition

The US Marine Corps has armed one of its Long-Range Unmanned Surface Vessels (LRUSV) with Hero-120 loitering munitions.

The service currently has five LRUSVs and a manned LRUSV contact vessel following the January 2021 awarding of a production contract to Metal Shark.

One optionally-manned LRUSV can carry eight of the munitions that can strike a land or sea-based target up to 37 miles (60 kilometers) away.

Hero-120 Loitering Munition

The Israeli kamikaze drone can stay aloft for around an hour and has a warhead of 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms).

Once the munition is launched, it’s controlled by a group of operators seated in a manned LRUSV, which is based on the 40 “Defiant” monohull pilothouse patrol boat.

The munition can also be controlled by any US Marine in possession of a loitering munitions controller, irrespective of their locations, as long as the controller is within the munition’s range and the datalink is established.

Long-Range Unmanned Surface Vessels

The LRUSVs are intended to carry out long-range precision fire missions and reconnaissance for the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 plan. 

Apart from LRUSVs, the service plans to develop and procure Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicles and Extra-Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles.

According to Naval News, the service is requesting $25.25 million to acquire additional vessels in the next fiscal year.

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