U.S. Navy executes Unmanned Battle Problem 21 exercise

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Sea Hawk and Sea Hunter USVs participating in the exercise (Credit: US Navy 7th Fleet)

The U.S. Navy begins its inaugural multi-domain manned and unmanned capabilities exercise Battle Problem 21 on April 19.

Led by U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by U.S. 3rd Fleet, Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem 21 will generate warfighting advantages by integrating multi-domain manned and unmanned capabilities into the most challenging operational scenarios, the U.S. Navy announced.

The Battle Problem 21 exercise will feature operational, unmanned systems such as the MQ-9 Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessels Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk, and small and medium Unmanned Undersea Vehicles with modular payloads.

Unmanned systems alongside the traditional, manned naval force will give the U.S. Navy the advantage needed to fight, win and deter potential aggressors. This exercise will directly inform warfighters, warfare centers and developers to further incorporate unmanned capabilities in day-to-day Fleet operations and battle plans.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy 7th fleet

“The overall goal is to integrate our unmanned capabilities across all domains to demonstrate how they solve CNO and Fleet Commander Key Operational Problems,” says Gaucher. “To get after these problems, UxS Battle Problem 21 will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains; targeting and fires; and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.”

A Distinguished Visitor Day, hosted aboard Naval Base San Diego, April 16, will enable Navy officials and Fleet commanders to view the unmanned capabilities prior to their operational use in the exercise.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary to flawlessly execute our Navy’s timeless roles of sea control and power projection. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with other numbered Fleets to provide commanders with capable, ready assets to deploy forward and win in day-to-day competition, in crisis, and in conflict.

Naval Post Comment: The U.S. Navy has announced to generate a balanced, hybrid fleet that includes undersea, surface, airpower, aircraft carriers, and expeditionary land forces, including cost-effective manned-unmanned platforms in “Advantage at Sea” manifesto in December 2020. Such exercises should be considered as the efforts to realize the hybrid fleet target in the manifesto.