Could the Navy of tomorrow be with Unmanned… frigates?

The leaping development of technology creates new data and overturns everything we knew in practices and methods in the field of tomorrow.

by Christos Mazanitis

Could only Unmanned Ships operate in the Aegean and the Greek navy be limited to a control station on land?

For many this is an image from the not-too-distant future. For the US Navy it is an image that will most likely become an integral part of its fleet.

As Defense News reports in an extensive article, the USNAVY conducted its first Unmanned Vessel (UAV) test in Exercise Rim of the Pacific.

It took place in the waters off Hawaii, where there was a traditional flotilla of 38 ships and 170 aircraft operating around the islands in the area. At the same time, the MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs – similar to those ordered by Greece – were operating, transmitting images from the field to land.

Smaller UAVs also flew, such as the V-Bat drone from the back of the destroyer Michael Monsoor, acting as a remote control sensor for the ship.

Nearby, a pair of large unmanned vessels – named Nomad and Ranger – patrolled the waters under the control of staff at the so-called unmanned operations center in California.

And, in perhaps the most anticipated experiment of the exercise, the unmanned medium-surface vessels Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk teamed up with a destroyer to demonstrate the power of manned-unmanned teaming at sea.

All of this underscores the direction the US Navy is headed: distributed maritime operations, joint operations across all domains; any sensor, any shooter, manned-unmanned teaming.

The agency has invested billions of dollars in unmanned development and prototyping, with three more USV prototypes under construction and 12 large UAVs pending in the fiscal 2023 spending plan. Gilday recently updated his strategic vision for the “Navigation Plan” with a outline a future fleet of approximately 373 manned ships and 150 unmanned ships, along with unmanned aircraft that will contribute to the US NAVY’s upgrade, anti-submarine warfare missions, surface operations and more.

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