June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019

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June 17, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

U.S. Navy to Contract New Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles

The U.S. Navy is moving fast to acquire a new unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and hopes to award a contract for the USV by the end of 2019. Over the next two months, the Navy plans to issue a request for proposals for a new, medium-sized USV, up to 50 meters long. The Navy seeks a USV that can function as a sensor and communication relay as part of a family of unmanned surface systems being developed by the Navy. Additionally, the USV will be able to carry a payload similar to that of a 40-foot shipping container, return to port, and be capable of refueling at sea. The USV will also be able to autonomously operate at a cruising speed of about 16 knots, with a minimum range of 4,500 nautical miles, operated through a government-provided communication relay system.

In addition to these USVs, the Navy plans to invest to improve the technology on its unmanned underwater vehicles as well. The Navy also plans to add 100 personnel to its explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) force so it can have a greater presence around the globe. These two additions to its fleet will allow the Navy to search bodies of water for potential dangers and neutralize threats much faster.

The Navy has eight (8) unmanned systems platoons now and will grow to 16 in the next three years. Unlike other parts of the EOD community, the men and women in the unmanned systems platoons are not EOD techs, but rather pull from a range of fleet ratings.

The Navy’s goal is to enable the unmanned vehicle to make decisions while it’s in the water, and reach a level of trust in the vehicle to make the right decisions. If the vehicle sees an object of interest, it can decide to take more passes at it so the Navy can better understand what’s there, which in turn will save team members the time of having to send out a second mission. We will provide updates on other maritime unmanned vehicle projects as the Navy invests more efforts in this area.

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About this Author

Kathryn Rattigan Attorney Cybersecurity Data Privacy

Kathryn Rattigan is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She advises clients on data privacy and security, cybersecurity, and compliance with related state and federal laws. Kathryn also provides legal advice regarding the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. She represents clients across all industries, such as insurance, health care, education, energy, and construction.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Compliance

Kathryn helps clients comply...

James Nault Complex Litigation Attorney

James Nault focuses his practice on complex litigation, including patent infringement, trademark infringement, commercial disputes, breach of contract, and trade secret licensing disputes. Jim is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Appellate Groups. 

Patent / Intellectual Property Litigation

Jim is a registered patent attorney and a registered professional engineer. He handles a variety of intellectual property litigation, including lawsuits related to patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright infringement. He has represented diverse clients in intellectual property actions across the country and has achieved numerous favorable settlements on their behalf. 

Jim regularly monitors and reports on changing areas of intellectual property law, especially patent cases at the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has assisted in drafting briefs to the various federal courts of appeals, the Connecticut Supreme Court, and has drafted a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. He routinely makes presentations to the Connecticut legal community to share his knowledge about patent issues.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Jim worked as a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation Group at a firm in New York.


Jim has extensive experience handling appellate matters in both state and federal courts. He assisted in winning a significant decision before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal of a complaint against the state of Connecticut and his clients.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, he clerked for the Honorable Gerald Bard Tjoflat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Pro Bono

Jim regularly does pro bono litigation work. For his representation of an indigent inmate in a civil rights case, he received commendation letters from two federal judges, won the firm’s Pro Bono Service Award for 2016, and was runner-up Pro Bono Service Award Winner for the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut for 2016. 

Prior to attending law school, Jim had a career in the United States Navy's submarine force, culminating in his tour of duty as Commanding Officer of USS Toledo (SSN-769), a 688-class attack submarine based in Groton, Connecticut. He retired as a Navy captain in 2008.