April 19 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy announced the start of its first manned and unmanned capabilities exercise on Monday at Naval Base San Diego.
Executed by the Navy’s 3rd Fleet, “Unmanned Battle Problem 21” will “generate warfighting advantages in integrating multi-domain manned and unmanned capabilities into the most challenging operational scenarios,” a Navy statement said.
Unmanned systems, including the MQ-9 Sea Guardian and MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles, Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk unmanned surface vessels and small and medium unmanned undersea vehicles with modular payloads will be involved in exercises.
The goal is further incorporation of drone-style aircraft and vessels in day-to-day operations and battle plans across land, sea and air domains, according to Navy officials.
“Our unmanned systems are a great force multiplier for our Navy,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker, at a distinguished visitors’ day for developers, contractors and Navy leaders on Friday. “They bring a lot of capability to the Fleet.”
The unmanned systems are designed to work alongside the traditional, manned naval force.
“The overall goal is to integrate our unmanned capabilities across all domains to demonstrate how they solve CNO [Chief of Naval Operations] and Fleet Commander Key Operational Problems,” said Rear Adm. Robert M. Gaucher, U.S. Pacific Fleet director of maritime headquarters.
“To get after these problems, UxS IBP21 [Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problems 21] will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains; targeting and fires; and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance,” Guacher said.