US naval research office to join UK’s Unmanned Warrior

U.S. Navy sailors launch a MK 18 MOD 2 unmanned underwater vehicle from a rigid-hull inflatable boat. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) will head a U.S. Navy contingent demonstrating 10 technology projects during the first-ever Unmanned Warrior joint exercise hosted by the British Royal Navy.

Unmanned Warrior is part of a larger, British naval exercise called Joint Warrior, which provides a semi-annual opportunity for U.S., British, NATO and allied units to train together in a range of scenarios that realistically could be encountered during coalition operations.

More than 40 international participants from other navies, industry, academia and research laboratories will demonstrate the latest in autonomous and unmanned systems from October 8 – 20.

“The U.S. Navy is very appreciative of the Royal Navy’s invitation to participate in their inaugural Unmanned Warrior exercise. Unmanned Warrior provides a unique opportunity to showcase our technical and operational autonomous technologies, while simultaneously strengthening our international partnerships with all participating nations,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter.

Technologies being demonstrated include a variety of unmanned underwater, surface and aerial vehicles (UxVs). These will contribute increased capability to naval forces participating in Joint Warrior. Capt. Beth Creighton, USN, the U.S. officer in charge, described the exercise as “a step toward defining the future of naval warfighting.” She added, “We value the lives of our Sailors and Marines and autonomous systems much of do the dull, dirty and dangerous work, so our people can focus on applying their talents to the mission at hand.”

Unmanned Warrior will explore the feasibility of increasing the use of non-weaponized, unmanned and autonomous systems in delivering maritime capabilities. New knowledge gained will inform naval warfighting concepts in five mission themes:

-Geospatial Intelligence – sensors aboard UxVs will gather hydrographic data to define the ocean operating environment

-Anti-Submarine Warfare – UxVs integration will improve threat detection and response

-Mine Countermeasures – cooperation across UxVs speeds operational timelines and response effectiveness

-Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance – low-cost, multi-mission UxVs deliver persistent and extended range ocean surveillance

-Command & Control – enhanced C2 integrates data from disparate UxVs for improved collaboration across manned/unmanned forces

Dr. Marcus Tepaske, the Office of Naval Research Global science advisor to U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. technical director for Unmanned Warrior, will oversee the 10 U.S. technology projects. “It’s a team effort. My goal is to challenge the project officers to push the limits of their systems through acceleration, innovation and collaboration.”

 

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