LAS VEGAS: “Keeping the sailor out of the minefield,” the Navy’s new mantra for mine warfare, means sending the robots in. As part of an annual exercise in July called “Trident Warrior,” the fleet experimented with an unmanned ship developed by Textron subsidiary AAI and known blandly as the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV).

The video, provided by AAI, shows two CUSVs — the only two in existence — streaking out to sea during Trident Warrior to hunt simulated naval mines. The two boats look identical, but the “common” part of the CUSV name refers to the design’s ability to serve as a common carrier for a host of mission-specific payloads. They slot into a bay in the stern. Keep reading →