The U.S. Navy has successfully operated an MQ-9B SeaGuardian maritime surveillance UAS (unmanned aerial system) in conjunction with a manned vessel during the Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem 21 (UxS IBP 21), which took place off the coast of San Diego.
The UAS was partnered with a guided-missile cruiser to execute long-range, over-the-horizon targeting. With the aid of sonobuoys and other assets, the SeaGuardian identified contacts and reported locations remotely to the commander on board the cruiser.
The Navy has devoted significant resources towards developing operational synchronization between unmanned capabilities and traditional manned naval assets in order to maintain its technological and warfighting advantage. SeaGuardian enhances a range of capabilities for the Navy, including anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
UxS IBP 21 is a U.S. Pacific Fleet exercise, executed by U.S. 3rd Fleet, designed to integrate manned and unmanned capabilities into operational scenarios to generate warfighting advantages. The week-long event involves surface, subsurface, and aerial unmanned assets, operating with littoral combat ships, guided-missile destroyers, guided-missile cruisers, submarines and helicopter squadrons.
Rear Adm. James A. Aiken, UxS IBP 21 tactical commander, commented: “The integration between unmanned and manned capabilities shown today provides an operations approach to strengthening our manned-unmanned teaming. Putting our newest technology into our Sailors’ hands directly enhances our fleet.”