From 7 classified ‘spirals’ to upcoming robotic ships: Gilday in the Navy’s Unmanned Task Force – Breaking Defenses Breaking Defenses

An unmanned surface ship Saildrone Explorer (USV) sets sail in the Gulf of Aqaba off the coast of Jordan, December 12, during exercise Digital Horizon. (US Army photo by Cpl. Deandre Dawkins)

WEST 2022: The Navy Unmanned Task Force pursued seven classified “spirals” that aimed to take specific technology from industry vendors and put them through a series of problems to determine their value to the fleet in the future, according to the director of naval operations.

“We are looking at issues like integrating payloads on larger drones [systems]reliability for engineering plans or flight control on other unmanned vehicles”, Adm. Michael Gilday told a small group of reporters Wednesday during the West 2022 conference in San Diego.

Gilday added that many of the technologies the team spent three months testing have also been included in the International Maritime Exercises being held in the Middle East this month.

The ultimate aim, Gilday said, is to take an “evolutionary approach” where the service brings smaller, less complex drone platforms to the fleet in the near term, but is poised to expand. scale over the next decade.

“We are really focused on taking a more evolutionary approach. I think the Unmanned Task Force is helping us do that inside the FYDP,” he said. “In the long term, the goal is… to put ourselves in a position where we can scale those platforms and by the 2030s, commanders will be unmanned in larger numbers.”

FYDP stands for “future years defense program,” or the five-year period over which the Pentagon budgets.

Gilday’s comments are the latest reflection of the Navy’s ambitions to exploit unmanned platforms, which have been widely publicized for several years now. However, the top admiral also seems to be signaling that the Navy will take a more restrictive approach than the “all” budget request that has raised concerns among lawmakers in the past. past.

While the specific technologies and problem groups being examined remain classified, the admiral’s comments shed light on the grassroots work being done by the panel. Comprised of claims officials, acquisition specialists, industry executives and fleet representatives, Gilday said the aim of the group is to help shape the Navy’s selection going forward.

Gilday formed the full-service task force in September 2021 around the same time a similar but smaller Navy group was assembled in the Middle East, known as Task Force 59. At the time, the admiral The Navy’s flagship didn’t offer many details about UTF except to say that it would bring together experts to answer Navy questions about drones.

With the growth of the Navy and Marine Corps’ collection of combat strategies, such as Distributed Maritime Operations, the service has “got a great understanding of how we will fight,” said Gilday. conceptually in the future.”

“It’s the hour that announces what we’re going to fight,” he said.

CNO alone also said that the chief of naval staff is strongly considering a new drone rating. (Ranking is the military’s qualifications system used to categorize specific skills that enlisted personnel possess.) For now, the service is pulling sailors away from the usual ratings and exploit them to operate some driverless vehicles, but ideally these operators would have their own ratings, Gilday said.

“What we want to do is create a highly specialized and… [they] There may also be a degree of expertise involved in helping us build or modify the applications that will control these platforms,” he said. From 7 classified ‘spirals’ to upcoming robotic ships: Gilday in the Navy’s Unmanned Task Force – Breaking Defenses Breaking Defenses

Jake Nichol

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