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    US Navy Establishes Innovative Unmanned Vessel Squadron to Boost Maritime Reconnaissance

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    In a bold move to enhance its maritime reconnaissance capabilities, the U.S. Navy has officially established the Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron (USVRON) Three at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

    This groundbreaking squadron will be tasked with managing a fleet of small, unmanned surface vessels (sUSV) known as Global Autonomous Reconnaissance Craft (GARC), representing a significant shift in the paradigm of naval warfare.

    During the ceremony held at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Capt. Derek Rader took command of the newly formed Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron Three (USVRON Three), tasked with overseeing the operation of a fleet of small, unmanned surface vessels (sUSV) known as Global Autonomous Reconnaissance Craft (GARC).

    In his remarks, Capt. Rader emphasized the crucial role of sailors in integrating unmanned surface vessels into Navy and joint operations. He highlighted the importance of experimentation, fleet testing, and the drafting of operational doctrines by the sailors present, underscoring their role in realizing the full potential of unmanned systems in modern warfare.

    Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs), such as the GARCs, are poised to enhance the Navy’s combat capabilities by supplementing the traditional combatant force, thereby offering commanders a broader spectrum of capabilities and deployment choices to bolster both tactical and strategic advantages of the Fleet.

    The objective behind USV integration is to enable their seamless collaboration with carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or even conducting independent operations.

    Developed by the Maritime Applied Physics Corporation, the 16-foot GARCs facilitate research, testing, and operations essential for their integration across surface, expeditionary, and joint maritime forces.

    Vice Adm. Brendan McLane, Commander of Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, delivered a keynote address during the ceremony, emphasizing the significant challenges ahead and expressing confidence in the capabilities of the team assembled at USVRON Three.

    He highlighted the Navy’s commitment to integrating unmanned systems by entrusting 400 highly skilled warfighters with their deployment, experimentation, and utilization.

    Additionally, USVRON Three will integrate the newly established robotics warfare (RW) specialist rating announced by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in February.

    210422-N-GP724-1202 SAN DIEGO (April 22, 2021) An ADARO unmanned system operates during U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem (UxS IBP) 21. UxS IBP 21 integrates manned and unmanned capabilities into challenging operational scenarios to generate warfighting advantages. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Perlman)

    These specialists will play a pivotal role in facilitating Robotic Autonomous System (RAS) operations and maintenance at the frontline, serving as experts in computer vision, mission autonomy, navigation autonomy, data systems, artificial intelligence, and machine learning on RAS platforms.

    Under the leadership of Commodore Shea Thompson, USVRON Three will operate under the oversight of Surface Development Group One (SURFDEVGRU). Commodore Thompson expressed enthusiasm about the expansive possibilities ahead, emphasizing the collaborative efforts of SURFDEVGRU One and USVRON Three in shaping the optimal approach within their domain.

    With a shared dedication to advancing small Unmanned Surface Vessel (sUSV) capabilities, the teams are actively working towards achieving full operational capability within a significant timeframe.

    USVRON Three’s primary mission is to deliver unparalleled unmanned platforms in the maritime sphere. As a cornerstone in cultivating essential operational knowledge for sUSV operation and maintenance, the squadron will lead the development of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) for sUSV operations and sustainment. Embodying the spirit of “Victory Through Ferocity,” USVRON Three aims to establish itself as a formidable force in the maritime landscape.

    SURFDEVGRU 1 holds the vital responsibility of overseeing the maintenance, training, and manning of various key assets, including unmanned surface vessels (USVs), Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers, and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002). Meanwhile, the overarching mission of CNSP (Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific) is to ensure the Surface Force is adequately manned, trained, and equipped. This ensures fleet commanders have access to credible naval power for sea control and power projection ashore.

    Relevant articles:
    SURFOR Establishes Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron (USVRON) Three, DVIDS

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