Unmanned Navy ships sail with US allies in the Middle East – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


Two unmanned surface vessels MANTAS T-12 operate alongside a US Coast Guard patrol boat during Exercise New Horizon in the Arabian Gulf. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dawson Roth)

WASHINGTON: A new U.S. Navy task force recently completed its first exercise at sea, in which unmanned ships collaborate with friendly foreign ships, the U.S. 5th Fleet said on Tuesday.

“During the two-day training exercise, the task force integrated and evaluated 59 new unmanned surface vessels (UPS) of the type MANTAS T-12, which operated alongside manned US patrol boats and maritime facilities of the Bahrain Defense Force,” said a statement by the Navy.

Task Force 59 is a new unit formed by the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain in September and focused on increasing the use of unmanned aerial, surface and underground systems by seafarers, the group’s top officers said at the time to reporters. The area of ​​responsibility of the 5th US Fleet includes the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

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MANTAS T-12 is an unmanned surface vessel developed by Maritime Tactical Systems that is capable of operating fully or semi-autonomously in waters up to swell 7 or in waves up to 20 or 30 feet. (Sea state is a generally accepted description of the sea surface, with sea state 1 representing calm water and sea state 9 representing waves up to 15 m high.)

The exercise, called New Horizon, was also said to be the first time that the US Navy’s regional armed forces operated unmanned facilities together with partner nations.

“Bahrain, as our first regional partner to work with Task Force 59 during an exercise at sea, shows the strengthening of our strategic relationship,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the US 5th Fleet.

The exercise, which took place October 20 and 26, involved personnel aboard the Firebolt (PC-10) patrol vehicle maneuvering nearby high-speed UPSs into formation. The demonstrations included units from the US Naval Forces Central Command, the Royal Bahrain Naval Force and the Bahrain Coast Guard, and US Air Forces.

“This is a significant milestone for our new task force as we accelerate the integration of unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into complex, cross-domain operations at sea,” said Captain Michael Brasseur, commander of Task Force 59, in a written statement. “Evaluation in practice is essential.”

The U.S. 5th Fleet task force is part of the Navy’s broader effort to organize and optimize its unmanned capabilities as part of the Chief of Navy’s duty-wide unmanned task force. Contributing to this effort is a Navy-sponsored Hack The Machine event, which will focus on unmanned technology, scheduled for November.

Hack The Machine Unmanned “is the first in a series of public technology challenges aimed at accelerating the US Navy’s unmanned task force. This challenge will forge a partnership community between the navy, industry and science to create new high-end unmanned vehicle capabilities, ”the event website reads.


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