The United States Navy announced earlier this week that the Unmanned Surface Vessel Division 1 will be stood up in San Diego. This division will be comprised of the two already manufactured unmanned vessels, the DARPA-developed Sea Hawk and Sea Hunter, as well as two modified commercial crew boats, the Nomad and Ranger. The Division will also apparently gain three new unmanned ships by the end of 2022.
This division is slated to deploy entirely to the RIMPAC exercises kicking off June into early August with 27 partner nations, 42 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and nearly 25,000 participants – as the next fleet activity to help determine and define how the capabilities of the medium-sized surface drones might augment the manned and unmanned fleet.
“All four ships will be dispersed, and we’ll be working with different task force commanders during all three phases of the Rim of the Pacific exercise, both from a command-and-control standpoint and also exercising our capabilities from a payload standpoint,” said Cmdr. Jerry Daley, Commanding Officer of the new division.
One of the key objectives of this year except use is to demonstrate distributed fleet operations in which the United States Navy is hoping to move away from large surface task forces of large surface combatants which are susceptible to China’s advanced anti-ship ballistic missiles and thorough access area denial practices. These unmanned ships are supposed to function as either missile trucks or sponges to absorb missile strikes for the larger manned combatants.