Captain A.I. - The Future of Military Intelligence
The Navy has been hard at work engineering! Unmanned vehicles, or UVs, are just one line of defense the military has been pursuing to combat increasing threats around the world.
UVs can be equipped with sensors, weapons, and other payloads. They can be operated remotely, semi-autonomously, or autonomously.
There are three types of large unmanned vehicles: Large unmanned service vehicles (LUSVs), medium unmanned service vehicles (MUSVs), and extra-large unmanned undersea vehicles (XLUUVs).
The Navy’s new division, called the Unmanned Surface Division One, will experiment with unmanned surface vessels and fleet advocacy for the surface force. The Navy wants these unmanned vessels to help them shift to a more distributed fleet architecture. This new fleet will have fewer large ships, such as large-deck aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, large amphibious ships, and large supply ships.
Instead, the new focus will be on LUSVs, including frigates, corvettes, smaller amphibious ships, and smaller resupply ships. The ideal size of these LUSVs would be 200 to 300 feet and would have full load displacements between 1,102 to 2,204 tons - making them about the size of a corvette.
The Navy envisions these new ships to be low-cost, high-endurance, and reconfigurable - all based on commercial ship designs.
Referred to as UVs, LUSVs are really more accurately lightly-manned or optionally manned as they sometimes do have onboard assistants.
These ships will be capable of weeks-long deployments and even trans-oceanic transits.
The XLUUV or Orca Program was established by the Navy to address a joint emergent operational need. These XLUUVs are UUVs with a diameter of 84 inches, making them too large to be launched from a manned submarine, so instead, they will be launched from a pier.
The hammerhead mine will also be covertly deployed using XLUUs. This is a planned mine that would be tethered to the seabed and armed with an anti-submarine torpedo.
The XXLUV or Orca will be open architecture - meaning it will be reconfigurable and have a modular construction.
The Orca’s cousin, the Echo Voyager, is slightly smaller, about the size of a subway car at 51 feet long, 55 tons, and with a range of 6,500 nautical miles. And since it’s also modular, it can be added on to, increasing its length to up to 85 feet. Impressive!
In the quest to reconfigure dominance of the sea, it looks like AI and UVs will play a vital role in the future of navies around the world. We look forward to seeing what’s more to come.