From Accurate Automation Corporation
The Navy Expeditionary Overwatch (NEO) Program is an Office of Naval Research (ONR) initiative to provide persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and engagement capabilities for warfighters in the littoral and riverine environments. NEO includes state of the art communication, sensor, and engagement platforms. The NEO communication network allows sensors and vehicles to be controlled from a central, safe location, and relays sensor data from all of the vehicles to the control station. The network incorporates an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mounted communication relay that enables operation over extended ranges and beyond line-of-sight; an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) equipped with non-lethal weapons that is controlled remotely; and a manned Ground Vehicle equipped with lethal weapons. The weapons, coupled with the sensor and control capabilities, provide warfighters with a level of situational awareness and the ability to remotely engage hostile forces.
In March 2006, the Chief of Naval Research directed the ONR Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Science and Technology Department (Code 30) “to explore areas where ONR could provide support to the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)”. Based on capability gaps articulated by the Naval Expeditionary Combat Enterprise, ONR developed the NEO concept as a means to provide sensor and engagement capabilities to address near-term NECC needs. The current phase, NEO Spiral 1, developed and demonstrated a communication network, three sensor/engagement platforms, and a control station. One platform consisted of a 38' Accurate Automation developed USV. Neo Spiral 1 successfully completed an Operational Test and Evaluation Force (OPTEVFOR) Limited Military Utility Assessment (LMUA) using trained Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) sailors. NEO is currently planning a Spiral 2 to include enhanced communications, obstacle avoidance, and autonomy, and weaponization of the AAC-supplied USV. The NEO capability is also being expanded/leveraged for Naval Special Warfare and Irregular Warfare needs.