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US Navy USVs return to base after 46,000nm Pacific trip

Four US Navy Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) have returned to their home port in California after a 46,651 nautical mile trip, including participating in Australia’s EX Autonomous Warrior..

Integrated Battle Problem (IBP) 23.2, the third multi-domain unmanned capabilities exercise under the US Pacific Fleet’s Experimentation Plan, concluded as the USVs, operated by Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One (USVDIV-1), returned to Naval Base Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles.

The exercise, which began in August off the coast of Southern California, employed four USV prototypes from various developmental sources to test, develop, and evaluate unmanned concepts of operations to implement into future fleet operations. The USVs – named Mariner, Ranger, Seahawk, and Sea Hunter – travelled a combined 46,651 nautical miles, navigated primarily by autonomous systems, while visiting ports in Japan and Australia during the Western Pacific employment.

“Through analysis, simulation, prototyping, and demonstration, exercises like IBP 23.2 advance manned-unmanned teaming to support traditional capabilities in the Indo-Pacific,” said US Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, commander, US 3rd Fleet. “As we continue employing these capabilities, our Sailors will gain confidence and skill operating alongside unmanned platforms that more seamlessly integrate across the force to enhance decision speed and lethality.”

During IBP 23.2, the USVs and personnel from USVDIV-1 integrated with the Japan Maritime-Self Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy, US Navy Carrier Strike Group 1, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and several independently deployed surface ships in the US 7th Fleet area of operations. Notable exercises that USVDIV-1 participated in during IBP 23.2 include the Navy and Marine Corps’ Large-Scale Exercise in August 2023 and the Royal Australian Navy’s Exercise Autonomous Warrior in November 2023.

“To think that two years ago USVDIV-1 didn’t exist as a command demonstrates the Navy’s ability to rapidly develop and implement advanced capabilities to meet pacing challenges,” said US Navy Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley, commanding officer of USVDIV-1.

USVDIV-1’s mission is to test, evaluate and operate in support of integrating USVs into fleet operations and provide recommendations to Navy leadership on the development of unmanned systems.

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