Home Americas US Navy stands up unmanned division, will send 4 drone ships to...

US Navy stands up unmanned division, will send 4 drone ships to RIMPAC drill

USV Sea Hunter at naval base San Diego
Unmanned surface vessel Sea Hunter sits pierside at Naval Base San Diego during the USDIV One establishment ceremony on May 13, 2022. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division (USDIV) One, a new unit that will focus on integrating operations with unmanned vessels.

USVDIV One will oversee medium and large unmanned surface vessels including the Sea Hunter and its sister vessel, the Sea Hawk.

The division will focus on unmanned surface vessel (USV) experimentation and fleet advocacy for the surface force.

The division will be a cornerstone in building the foundational knowledge required for sailors to operate and maintain the USV fleet, the navy said, adding that another task of the unit would to spearhead the development of the processes required for USV operations and sustainment.

“To meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must continue to innovate the surface force,” said Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley, the commanding officer of the newly-established unit.

“USVDIV One will accelerate the delivery of credible and reliable unmanned systems in conjunction with increasingly capable manned platforms into the fleet.”

Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, Commander, Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet, presided over the ceremony.

“USVDIV One will be a catalyst for innovation as we employ unmanned surface capabilities in the Pacific Fleet,” said Kitchener. “The implementation of unmanned systems will increase decision speed and lethality to enhance our warfighting advantage.”

Speaking at a media roundtable on May 17, Daley also revealed the navy would be sending four unmanned surface vessels to the world’s largest naval maneuver taking place off Hawaii this summer.

The four vessels will include USVs Sea Hunter and Seahawk, and the two Ghost Fleet Overlord support vessels Nomad and Ranger.

“All four ships will be dispersed, and we’ll be working with different task force commanders during all three phases of the Rim of the Pacific exercise, both from a command-and-control standpoint and also exercising our capabilities from a payload standpoint,” USNI News quoted Daley as saying.

The aim of the deployment will be to refine the vessels’ requirements for the integration of manned and unmanned fleets.