The US Navy has announced the successful trial of its T38 “Devil Ray” unmanned surface vessel (USV) equipped with lethal munitions.
Part of Exercise Digital Talon, the test was the first use of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System from the T38 USV in the Middle East.
According to the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), its Task Force 59 demonstrated the unmanned platform’s ability to pair with crewed ships to identify simulated hostile targets.
It also used the USV-mounted munitions to engage enemy forces represented by boats.
“During multiple firing events, a MARTAC T38 Devil Ray USV, equipped with a Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System, successfully scored direct hits each time,” a NAVCENT press release stated. “A human operator ashore at Task Force 59’s Robotics Operations Center made the engagement decisions.”
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) is advancing lethality and the combat capabilities of unmanned surface vehicles during Exercise Digital Talon in international waters @US5thFleet, Oct. 23. During the exercise, NAVCENT’s Task Force 59, the Navy’s first Unmanned and… pic.twitter.com/N9jkv4vpeM
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 2, 2023
Enhancing Fleet Lethality
NAVCENT Commander Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said the service is currently focused on the operational application of new, cutting-edge unmanned systems, such as the T38.
Prior to the recent test, the navy had integrated 12 different unmanned platforms with manned ships to conduct enhanced maritime security operations around the Arabian Peninsula.
During Exercise Digital Talon, Cooper stressed that the service took a significant step, advancing its capability to the next level with the integration and trial of the miniature missile into the Devil Ray USV.
“We have proven these unmanned platforms can enhance fleet lethality,” he explained. “In doing so, we are strengthening regional maritime security and enhancing deterrence against malign activity.”
In the future, Cooper said he expects to see more exercises demonstrating the US Navy’s “combat-capable” unmanned systems.