Navy Littoral fleet will operate drone surface craft, submarines and air craft in defense of coastal waters
The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship will now have the ability to operate surface and undersea drones to improve effectiveness, particularly when it comes to destroying mines, surveying enemy waters and launching attacks.The drones will supplement the manned effort against enemy craft. Warrior Maven reports:
The growing fleet of unmanned surface vessels has made rapid technological improvements in recent months, including being capable of performing longer-range surveillance. They've also become more effective at neutralizing mines and launching coordinated drone attacks.
Ocean drones are gaining new forms of autonomy, thanks to new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and improved algorithms, the Navy strategy's emphasizes that humans will still be needed to make decisions such as when and if to fire weapons or others needed for combat.
...This sounds like a great assignment for young gamer enthusiast. The remote control drones in the air, on the surface and underwater, will create an area denial system that will make it hard for the enemy to get to the "mother ships."
... while facing long-range enemy precision weapons, surface ships like the LCS will launch and control swarms of fast, high-tech surface drone ships to test enemy defenses or launch coordinated attacks without putting a host ship in range of enemy fire.
While ocean drones are rapidly gaining advanced levels of autonomy through new computer algorithms, Navy strategy emphasizes that humans will of course still be needed to fire weapons, perform command and control and make many combat-relevant decisions.
"As part of the expanding shipbuilding portfolio, the Navy expects to have USVs (unmanned surface vessels) play a large, critical role working in concert with manned systems. Just like UUVs [unmanned underwater vehicles] will not replace submarines, we do not envision USVs replacing manned surface combatants. But they will work in concert," Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told Warrior.
The Navy plans to deploy fast, high-tech surface drones equipped with advanced wireless technology able to find, attack and ultimately destroy underwater enemy mines, all while operating at safe distances from a larger manned surface host ship such as an LCS.