USN USVs converge on Australia for bilateral exercise

The unmanned surface vessel Ranger transits underneath the Sydney Harbor bridge as part of a scheduled port visit during Integrated Battle Problem (IBP) 23.2, Oct 24, 2023. IBP 23.2 is a Pacific Fleet exercise to test, develop and evaluate the integration of unmanned platforms into fleet operations to create warfighting advantages. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Pierson Hawkins)

Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) operated by the US Navy (USN) have arrived in Sydney, Australia on 24 October for a scheduled port visit ahead of bilateral exercises with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the service announced.

According to the USN’s Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One’s (USVDIV-1), USVs Ranger, Mariner, Seahawk and Sea Hunter will participate in the US Pacific Fleet’s Integrated Battle Problem (IBP) 23.2, which aims to test, develop and validate unmanned capabilities into fleet operations to create warfighting advantages.

According to the service, IBP 23.2 was launched in August and is the third multi-domain unmanned capabilities exercise and will centre on testing and developing capabilities and concepts for medium and large USVs as well as advanced manned-unmanned teaming operations in the Indo-Pacific.

USVDIV-1 will also cooperate with the RAN to test unmanned systems alongside industry partners to enhance their collective knowledge.

“I look forward to furthering the strong relationship our navies have worked hard to create,” said Commander Jeremiah Daley, commanding officer of USVDIV-1.

“Our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific relies upon developing these advanced capabilities that will create the asymmetric warfighting advantages to deter aggression in contested environments,” Cmdr Daley added.

The USVs were accompanied by the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Oakland.

“In order to develop a program as different and disruptive as small, medium, and large USVs, integrating with allies and partners early and consistently in its development is key to our success,” explained CDR Daley.

USVs Mariner and Ranger earlier made a call at Japan’s Fleet Activities Yokosuka on 18 September. The Pacific Ocean crossing of Ranger and Mariner – the first of its kind long-range transit – from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was made with a small crew on board.

by Jr Ng