Nearly 18 years after the al-Qaeda-coordinated speedboat attack on the USS Cole that took the lives of 17 sailors while the ship was refueling in Yemen’s Aden Harbor, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is seeking industry help to design and develop a non-lethal vessel stopping capability that utilizes High-Power Radio-Frequency (HPRF) technology to disrupt critical engine control electronics to stop small vessels powered by outboard motors.

According to a just-released (21 August) Request for Information (RFI) and program presentation slides from an associated Industry Day held on 16 August 2018 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Dalhgren Division facility, there is no current system that provides US Naval Forces (afloat and ashore) with high power energy system(s) capable of marine vessel disruption and/or disablement by attacking digital electronics used for propulsion, navigation, communication, and/or weapons control.

According to NAVSEA, and as discussed at the Industry Day, the Vessel Stopping Prototype (VSP) system will provide the capability to disrupt and/or disable operations of small uncooperative vessels where Rules of Engagement (ROE) may limit use and/or require augment of kinetic options.  The desired VSP system will:

– Disrupt and/or disable small uncooperative vessels in instances where Rules of Engagement (ROEs) may limit the use kinetic weapon alternatives.

– Provide a means to determine the intent of inbound vessels, buying valuable time for wide variety of “escalation of force” options.

– Include both high power wide-band and narrow-band HPRF sources.

The Navy anticipates a SVP Request for Proposals (RFP) release by 31 August 2018 with proposals due within 60 days.  Award of a Firm-Fixed Price (plus incentives) award is projected for February 2019 with 24-36 month period performance commencing in March 2019.