Navy tech

Integrating AI into the Navy’s unmanned systems

The character of war and warfare is changing fast. With its transformative power and potential, Artificial intelligence (AI) is among the many new technologies disrupting the battlefield.

In order to meet emerging challenges and achieve military edge, leveraging AI and related technologies has become essential in air, surface and ground warfare.

The U.S. Navy is integrating AI and machine learning (ML) technologies into its ship systems, networks, command and control, and weapons in order to maintain its dominance and achieve technological edge over adversaries in the wake of a constantly evolving technological landscape.

The campaign plan

In order to deliver enhanced capability to the warfighter, among others, the Navy’s AI technology adoption involves unmanned systems on, under and above the sea.

The Department of Navy created an Unmanned Campaign Plan in March 2021 which articulates the strategy, provides a framework for execution, and accelerates critical enablers in technology, process, policy, and partnerships.

Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, said: “The campaign plan will serve as the comprehensive strategy for realizing a future where unmanned systems serve as an integral part of the Navy’s warfighting team. It will be a living, iterative document that articulates our vision for a more ready, lethal, and capable fleet through acceleration of critical enablers in technology, processes, and partnerships.”

Manned unmanned teaming

In September 2021, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) established a new task force, Task Force 59, for its Middle Eastern contingent to integrate unmanned air, sea, and underwater systems with artificial intelligence with maritime operations in the 5th Fleet area of operations. This area of operation encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The task force has been designed specifically to experiment with and test unmanned platforms. In the words of Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander, NAVCENT, U.S. Fifth Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces, the aim to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned sea vessels (USV), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), is to put ‘more eyes out on the water that we simply had not had in the past.’

The Navy’s efforts to integrate AI into intelligent unmanned or autonomous platforms are not just limited to its Middle Eastern contingent. In May 2022, the Navy established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division (USVDIV) One to increase its unmanned capabilities by focusing on unmanned surface vessel (USV) experimentation and fleet advocacy for the surface force.

“USVDIV One will accelerate the delivery of credible and reliable unmanned systems in conjunction with increasingly capable manned platforms into the fleet,” Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley, Commanding Officer, USVDIV One said.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *