The Unmanned Warrior exercise taking place this month off the coast of western Scotland has demonstrated the ability of unmanned vehicles in three domains and from multiple nations to collaborate, U.S. Navy participants said Oct. 14.
As many as 10 unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) from Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have operated together, tasking each other to conduct surveillance of targets of interest, said Marcus Tepaske, global science adviser at the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the U.S. technical lead for the first-ever Unmanned Warrior.
“It’s really groundbreaking,” Tepaske told reporters. “It seems like every day they’re adding another system in there, so every day it’s a world first.”
Besides working with each other, UUVs have used unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to send communications to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs, in turn, have relayed that information to commanders and operators ashore. UAVs also have transferred data to UUVs that rose close to the surface.
Participating vehicles include Hydroid Remus 100 UUVs, OceanServer IVER UUVs, a SeaRobotics USV-2600, an ASV C-Worker USV, a Blue Bear Blackstart UAV and a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55 UAV.
Also during the exercise, underwater gliders have conducted ocean surveillance, UUVs have performed mine hunting, and underwater sensors have detected UUVs for potential port security applications. ONR is trying out its Waterside Rapid Deployment Security System, which uses a mix of sonar, radar and cameras to identify and track UUVs, swimmers and other potential surface and subsurface threats.
Dozens of unmanned vehicles, sensors and systems are taking part in Unmanned Warrior, which is sponsored by the U.K.’s Royal Navy. “This is a giant step toward defining the future of naval warfighting,” said Capt. Beth Creighton, the U.S. Navy lead for the exercise.