Discover more from Middle East AI News
U.S. Navy to form unmanned fleet
5th Fleet to form joint fleet of unmanned systems with allies
The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-headquartered 5th Fleet will form a new joint fleet of 100 maritime unmanned systems together with partner nations, which will be operational by the summer of 2023, in an effort to put more 'eyes and ears on the water'.
The new fleet of unmanned surface vessels (USVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and hybrid surface/underwater unmanned vehicles will patrol key areas in the 5th Fleet's area of operations, which consists of the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
A number of high ranking U.S. Navy officers attended UMEX 2022, the Middle East's Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference earlier this week in Abu Dhabi, including the commodore of the navy's new AI and unmanned technologies unit Task Force 59, which was formed in September 2021.
According to comments made by Vice Admiral Brad Cooper Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), to the Associated Press, the new unmanned systems fleet will dramatically multiply the surveillance capacities of the 5th Fleet. Earlier this month, the fleet completed IMX 2022, the largest maritime unmanned exercise in the world, with over 80 unmanned systems from 60 partner nations taking part in manoeuvres across the 5th Fleet area of operations.
Task Force 59 helped create the world's first 'digital ocean prototype' for the navy exercise, bringing together data from drones above, on and below the water in the Gulf of Aqaba, working together with the Royal Jordanian Navy operations centre. This real-time data was then integrated with commercially available data to create data sets that could be used by AI and machine learning to derive insights and support predictive analysis.
Speaking in the 'How Technology is Shaping Future Capabilities' session of UMEX22, Commodore of Task Force 59 Captain Michael D. Brasseur explained "What we're trying to see is, what's not normal. So, we can take action to interdict that and prevent malign activity on the seas."
However, according to Captain Brasseur, although getting the right data is important, the AI models are essential to help operators make sense of the immense volume of data coming from such a multitude of sensors. He also pointed out that some of the biggest challenges in leveraging AI and data were human factors: "It's about humans trusting and adopting."
Task Force 59 is the first of its kind in the U.S. Navy and was formed to accelerate the integration of AI and unmanned systems with maritime operations. TF59 created a new combined task force with partners to oversee the use of unmanned systems for IMX 2022 in February and led the effort to integrate USVs with manned assets taking part in the exercise.
Unmanned assets have been prioritised by all the Middle East's leading military powers, creating a fast growing and increasingly competitive market for AVs, UAVs, USVs and other autonomous systems. There has also been a proliferation of unmanned systems, with militant groups around the region getting access to armed unmanned assets.
Find out more about this topic:
Read this week's AP story.
You can watch the video of the 'How Technology is Shaping Future Capabilities' session at UMEX 2022 here.
See Middle East AI News 10-Feb22 for more about IMX 2022.
See my Linkedin post for a list of autonomous assets being used in IMX 2022.
Read more about the Middle East military drone market in Middle East AI News 16-Dec-21.