The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the U.S. Navy develop a cost estimate that includes the full costs to build and operate unmanned maritime systems and come up with a portfolio of uncrewed systems to enable the service branch to balance resources and focus on the digital infrastructure and other common elements.
The Navy plans to spend approximately $4.3 billion on the procurement of 21 uncrewed vehicles in the next five years to help counter existing and future maritime threats, acccording to a GAO report published Thursday.
The congressional watchdog also called on the Navy, which is conducting prototyping work on six types of unmanned systems, to set evaluation criteria for assessing the readiness of each vehicle prototype to transition to an acquisition program and establish a master planning schedule for prototype efforts.
“With detailed planning, prototyping has the potential to further technology development and reduce acquisition risk before the Navy makes significant investments,” the GAO report reads.
GAO added that optimizing the prototyphing phase for uncrewed systems will enable the military branch to generate information needed to support future decisions.