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Integrating Unmanned Systems into Operations at Sea

Members of NIWC Atlantic’s Unmanned Naval Innovation Team (UNIT) participated in Exercise “UNITAS” off the coast of Colombia last week in support of the U.S. 4th Fleet’s future hybrid fleet.

The UNIT team works out of NIWC Atlantic’s S&T Department and applies unmanned, communications, autonomy, data-centric and maritime domain expertise to provide technical leadership for the development and deployment of unmanned naval capabilities from demonstration through operationalization. The team’s original tasking was in the Middle East, supporting Task Force 59 under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

During the UNITAS exercise, UNIT experts in unmanned systems and autonomy traveled to Cartagena to join 4th Fleet’s efforts to support CNO objectives to scale unmanned platforms to the fleet level, including unmanned air, surface and subsurface platforms.

Unmanned platforms and key enabling technologies, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, will enhance maritime domain awareness and enable rapid decision-making at the highest levels.

Latin for unity, UNITAS is the longest-running multinational maritime exercise in the world and an excellent opportunity for U.S. forces to demonstrate their commitment to our allies and partners while training across the full spectrum of maritime operations.

UNITAS LXIV Aerosonde Demonstration
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA (July 16, 2023) UNITAS members from Colombia and the Republic of Korea discuss the Aerosonde MK4.7 Hybrid Quad unmanned aerial vehicle during demonstration of at the Club Naval Castillogrande during UNITAS LXIV, July 16, 2023. UNITAS is the world’s longest-running maritime exercise. Hosted this year by Colombia, it brings together multinational forces from 20 partner nations, including 26 warships/vessels, three submarines, 25 aircraft (fixed wing/helicopter) and approximately 7,000 people. The exercise trains forces in joint maritime operations that enhance tactical proficiency and increase interoperability with the presence of unmanned air, surface, and submarine systems. Forces will conduct operations off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, and ashore in Covenas and Barranquilla, Colombia, through July 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Hunter S. Harwell)

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Photo by: Petty Officer 1st Class Hunter Harwell |  VIRIN: 230716-N-RL456-1124.JPG
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