The US Navy will conduct an exercise involving its Zumwalt-class destroyer that will manage spy drones, ships, and aircraft, next month.
The upcoming exercise, called ‘Fleet Battle Problem’, will evaluate the US Navy’s maritime spy concept of deploying unmanned vehicles to collect information on enemy ships while also evading detection.
The USS Michael Mansoor, one of the US Navy’s most advanced guided-missile destroyers, will provide command and control to a variety of remotely-controlled drones and ships during the exercise.
The exercise will be conducted next month by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world’s largest fleet command. It will be carried out in the Third Fleet area of operations, most likely off the coast of southern California.
The US Navy is looking to overhaul its fleet so as to incorporate manned and unmanned teaming of aircraft and vessels.
The complex exercise will evaluate the Navy’s progress in terms of technology and concept of operations (CONOPS), and whether there is more work to be done.
“The Unmanned Campaign Framework states it is imperative that we understand what our future force will need to operate both in day-to-day competition as well as high-end combat,” US Navy spokesman Lt. Tim Pietrack told USNI News.
The event is being held in the 3rd Fleet operational area, under the guidance of the US Pacific Fleet, he said. It is aimed at exploring elements of that future force that will have the greatest impact on increasing the fleet’s lethality, he added.
“Through operational scenarios, what we learn from this event will provide pertinent and timely input to the Naval Research Enterprise and the acquisition community, to better inform unmanned system development moving forward,” the Navy spokesman said.
Earlier, it was reported that a Zumwalt destroyer would be integrated into the complex exercise alongside unmanned surface vessels, however, the US Navy revealed other details regarding the exercise.
“This event will incorporate many unmanned capabilities and unmanned capability enablers, including the Super Swarm project, the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessels (MDUSV) Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk, the MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and the MQ-9 Sea Guardian UAV,” the spokesman said.
The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) is the second ship of the Zumwalt class of guided-missile destroyers.