Unmanned Vessels

Pioneer in USV Market 
Small to Large USVs
R&D, New Built and Conversion 
Updated: February 21, 2023


Swiftships pioneered in multiple disciplines helping the US Navy to speed-up development, testing and deployment of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) into its fleet. It started investing in testing autonomous platforms before 2005, and its name became central to conversations around autonomous vessels since the US Navy’s 2018 selection of the Swiftships’ Riley Claire – a 175 feet Fast Supply Vessel (FSV) – for transformation into a Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV), named “Nomad”. Nomad became the first unmanned vessel of its kind added to Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One (USVDIV-1) and it has been thoroughly tested during autonomous missions.

Swiftships designs and constructs small to large autonomous vessels, and offers commercial platform conversion to militarized unmanned/minimally manned vessels. It has developed many variants of its Fast Supply Vessels (FSVs), not only for fully autonomous, but also for minimally manned or remote-controlled operations of the craft. Swiftships offers its clients turnkey solutions, including development of custom-tailored conventional or autonomous platforms, with a full vessels lifecycle sustainment, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services, that will help navies modernize their fleets while slashing costs.


Full Lifecycle Solutions

We provide R&D, engineering, building and sustainment of unmanned vessels

Mission Flexibility

Modular platforms that allow various mission configurations

Market Leader

Pioneer in autonomous platform conversion, and leader in SUSV development

Cost-Saving and Reliable

Swiftships autonomous vessels are highly endurant, efficient and low-maintenance


Due to over 80 years of experience delivering diverse platforms that include small to large military and commercial vessels, and pioneering in autonomous market, Swiftships is capable of offering full lifecycle solutions for unmanned/minimally manned vessels development and maintenance. Swiftships expertise includes development and RD&I for highly capable Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), engineering, vessel construction/conversion and system integration, supplemented by Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services. Its experience extends from ship exterior modifications to the most complicated machinery and electrical (HME) components, electronics, communication and navigation (COM/NAV), weapons systems, and numerous system overhauls, servicing, and upgrades. Understanding military clients’ requirements, highly developed infrastructure and knowledgeable personnel, allow the company to adapt and innovate in the quickly evolving dynamics of the naval industry and its needs for autonomous capabilities.


Platform as a Service

Navy’s latest plan is to increase it’s fleet by about 150 unmanned surface and underwater vehicles by 2045. The acquisition strategy is based on building new design medium to large unmanned vessels and converting already proven platforms to militarized unmanned/minimally manned vessels. Swiftships provides construction of protypes and conversion of its proven platforms services to the US Navy and allied nations, offering its unique competitive advantage of over 100 proprietary designs with all test data and experienced in-house engineering team. Swiftships experience and proven methodology for autonomous systems integration includes physical, electrical, and data interfaces between payloads and the platform, payload launch and recovery systems complimentary to USV capabilities and development. In addition, to the platform, Swiftships offers a full suite of services: cybersecurity, engineering, product support, and payload and weapons systems integration.

Platform Conversion

Proven commercial platform conversion to militarized autonomous or minimally manned vessel is a reliable and efficient option for navies to accelerate navies’ move to unmanned fleets. Swiftships has developed many configurations for its Fast Supply Vessel (FSV). When outfitted with missile defense, mission modules, UUV and UAV’s spoke or launching and retrieval capabilities, those relatively medium size vessels can accomplish many missions simultaneously, such as surface and underwater warfare. Militarized unmanned platforms can also serve as AAW/Strike Platforms and increase power of flag ships. The proven case is a conversion of Swiftships’ FSV Riley Claire to militarized unmanned vessels Nomad, and it’s performance on autonomous missions.

Nomad traveled from the Gulf Coast through the canal to the U.S. West Coast, a total of 4,421 nautical miles, with 98% of that distance in autonomous mode and the Panama Canal in manual mode.  Nomad’s autonomous transit provided the opportunity to test vessel endurance, autonomous operations, and interoperability of government command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems. Nomad is part of Rim of the Pacific 2022, manned-unmanned teaming experimentation exercise.

SUVS Market Gaps and Development

While there are many SUVS’ designs in the market, defense industry requirements constantly evolve and many in the market SUVS fail to provide mission requirements. Swiftships has been working closely with its Military clients, to define SUVS missions and technical requirements.

In early 2022, Swiftships unveiled its 46’ Small Unmanned Surface Vehicle (SUSV), aka Challenger, the unmanned vessel designed on proven platform that has served in various military and commercial engagements for over 20 years. Challenger offers 45+ knots speed, extreme endurance and can be configured for multiple missions including strategic strike and mine countermeasure/sonar deployments. Multi-modal situational awareness aboard the ship allows for threat-based object recognition, while further tracking, high-speed data connectivity, and anti-collision capabilities will help the United States (US) Navy Fleet Forces Command (FFC) to meet its mission of achieving fully autonomous capability.

Another major development in 2022 was 35 feet Riverine Assault Craft (RAC35) protype design and construction for Marine Forces Reserve. The effort was accomplished in partnership with Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). RAC is a USMC proven platform, capably to operate in tropical regions with assured top performance in sustained ambient air temperatures over 100° Fahrenheit. RAC35 is designed to conduct littoral/distributed operations and is capable of performing reconnaissance, sensing, tactical maneuver, and logistics support in the maritime domain, in both international deep blue waters and coastal/riverine zones. The RAC35 is a revolutionary platform due to its extreme endurance, speed, minimal signature, ability to support manned/unmanned assets (+100-200 nodes via 5G.MIL® Lockheed’s Martin), and affordability.

Unmanned Systems and Technology

Swiftships made its first step into the autonomous vessels market early 2015, when it collaborated with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) to develop a remote-controlled and unmanned systems for SUVS, aka Anaconda (AN-2). The unmanned system has been advanced to ensure unmanned vessel’s capability to continue the fight even if a casualty occurs during combat. Swiftships works continued to integrate edge processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning to the system to enable filtering and processing mission data on board and adapt to any situation and environment.

Swiftships is a full-service solution provider of complex support systems utilizing laser cameras (EO/IR). These sophisticated sonar systems gauge sea states and detect obstacles in the water, maintain state-of-the-art weapons systems, oversee Integrated Bridge Solutions (IBS), and provide platform solutions, maintenance, and training to ensure successful interoperability. Swiftships’ dynamic multiplier platforms offer 4G/5G, line-of-sight, over-the-horizon, and satellite communication. The advanced sensors package allows for the instant capture and transfer of live information, creating a near-sentient computer system that reacts and makes highly accurate steering, accelerating, and high-speed maneuvering decisions while accounting for scenario situations like port security and mine countermeasure, surveillance, and more.

Autonomy Integration to Naval Platforms

Autonomous solutions are already highly used for intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine counter measures, military training, and tests. Swiftships is working with its technology partners on reliable solution on integrating unmanned systems to naval platform that would offer advanced capabilities in maritime security, anti-submarine warfare, drug interdictions, launch, and recovery of host platforms.

Swiftships current experience in building Medium Unmanned Surface Vessels (MUSVs) alongside L3 Harris (as a Prime) gives company unparalleled experience. MUSV is a first-of-its-kind vessel to meet current and future changing needs of the navies and the shift toward more autonomous fleet. The U.S. Navy is delighted with progress of the design, and the prototype underway. This experience paired with Swiftships expertise in system integration, places company on the top shipyards for the future.

Unmanned Vessels’ Life Cycle Sustainment

Any platform that is build is going to have a sustainment structure and maintenance requirements, and unmanned vessels will require experienced servicing. Swiftships offers a full range of reliable and cost-effective maintenance packages including planned or predictive, preventative, corrective and continuous maintenance. Our expertise encompasses all aspects, from the ship’s exterior upgrades to the most complex machinery and electrical (HME), electronics, communication and navigation (COM/NAV), weapons systems and other systems for overhauls, servicing, upgrades and repairs. Different packages offer multiple aspects of maritime care, based on the user’s needs.


Vessels, ranging in size from a corvette to medium or small-sized craft, will, by 2045, define the modern fleet, and autonomy will be a key player. Recent advancements allow for leveraging naval platforms that are far less expensive to build, operate, and maintain. These advances, while helping nations project power, are also meeting critical humanitarian needs, allowing for lower casualty rates in terms of human life and a heightened level of security in naval infrastructures across the globe.

Swiftships is perfectly positioned to provide full lifecycle solutions for different size unmanned vessels as modern naval warfare continues to evolve.

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Related Pages
Learn more about Swiftships' Challenger
Learn more about Swiftships’ Autonomous Solutions
Learn more about Nomad (aka Riley Claire)