HII Purchases Autonomy Company to Bolster Unmanned Surface Business

January 4, 2021 2:00 PM
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Huntington Ingalls Industries has purchased a company that focuses on autonomous systems, a move that comes as the Navy pursues unmanned and autonomous platforms for the fleet.

In a news release, HII announced on Monday that it had completed the deal to buy Spatial Integrated Systems Inc. on the last day of 2020.

“SIS is a leader in autonomous technology, and this acquisition adds significant breadth to our unmanned systems solutions,” HII Technical Solutions Unmanned Systems business group President Duane Fotheringham said in a statement.
“This technology and the talented team provide unmatched capabilities in multi-domain collaborative autonomy and perception, allowing HII to uniquely address our customers’ needs.”

The purchase of Spatial Integrated Systems is HII’s latest foray into the unmanned systems business. The shipbuilding company in 2020 made several investments in unmanned, as the Navy continues developing the concept of operations for unmanned platforms and determines how the systems will factor into the future fleet architecture.

The Navy is currently pursuing several unmanned platforms, including the Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) and the Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV). In September, the service issued six companies contracts to begin performing LUSV design studies. Meanwhile, the Navy in July awarded L3 Technologies a $35 million contract to build an MUSV prototype.

“SIS’s solutions are actively in use throughout the Department of Defense, coordinating and controlling multiple collaborative unmanned vehicles in the execution of mission applications including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, harbor patrol, high-value unit escort missions, payload delivery, mine clearance, and transporting supplies,” HII said in the news release.
“SIS’s intelligent, goal-oriented USV solutions follow Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture standards and integrate proven obstacle avoidance and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea-compliant behaviors.”

Last year, HII purchased Hydroid, a company that builds unmanned underwater vehicles, and invested in Sea Machines Robotics, which concentrates on software for unmanned surface vehicles.

During an interview with USNI News last year, HII Technical Solutions Group President Andy Green described the company’s recent investments as a way for HII to help the Navy develop the new technology.

“When you think about how we can leverage unmanned systems technology in our existing platforms … because we make all those platforms … we have the ability to, as these technologies develop, to do technology insertion, to work with our program folks on the larger programs … and see where we can insert those technologies — see where we can leverage all of our many many decades of experience in building maritime platforms and undersea platforms — leverage that in developing technology that’s going to take UUVs and USVs to that next stage,” Green said at the time.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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