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US Navy Forms Second Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron

The US Navy has officially established its second Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron (USVRON) at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

USVRON Three will oversee a fleet of small unmanned surface vessels (USV) known as Global Autonomous Reconnaissance Craft (GARC).

Four 16-foot (488 centimeters) GARCs were delivered to the navy earlier this year, capable of performing both sensing and kinetic missions.

The Maritime Applied Physics Corporation USV features a displacement of 1,633 kilograms (3,600 pounds), a top speed of 35 knots, and a range of over 740 kilometers (460 miles). 

“Our sailors are the essential key for integration of unmanned surface vessels in the Navy and joint construct,” Capt. Derek Rader said

“This will be accomplished through experimentation with the fleet testing and doctrine drafted by operators you see today, who embody and execute the warfighting that we need to achieve to enable the full potential of unmanned systems.”

Unmanned Surface Vessel Squadron Three 

The Pacific Fleet squadron builds on its predecessor’s effort to focus on medium and large USVs, offering additional warfighting capacity and capability to the traditional combatant force.

According to the US Navy, the squadron intends to operate in conjunction with carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or even independently.

Additionally, it will spearhead the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures for small USV operations and sustainment, featuring a robotics warfare specialist.

The specialist will enable “Robotic Autonomous System (RAS) operations and the tactical edge and be the subject matter experts for computer vision, mission autonomy, navigation autonomy, data systems, artificial intelligence, and machine learning on the RAS platforms,” the US Navy explained.

To Report to Surface Development Group One

USVRON Three will report to Surface Development Group (SURFDEVGRU) One, responsible for the maintenance, training, and manning oversight of USVs, Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers, and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson.

“There are currently no boundaries, and we have an incredible opportunity to determine what right looks like within our sphere of influence,” Cdre. Shea Thompson remarked. 

“And the SURFDEVGRU One and USVRON Three teams are manned by like-minded surface warriors who are making considerable strides in validating small USV capability while laying out a clear path to achieving full operational capability by a timeframe that matters.”

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