Portugal leads multinational test of unmanned maritime technologies and interoperability

by Victor Barreira

The OGS42 fixed-wing UAV of Portuguese UAVision was fielded to provide situational awareness in support of a range of missions. (Victor Barreira)

Several NATO navies together with the navies of Australia and Brazil, industry, and research organisations have gathered in Portugal to take part in a large-scale experimentation to develop and test operational concepts and requirements, interoperability, technological advances, and new developments in sensors, actuators, command, control, and communications (C3), tactics and procedures on maritime unmanned systems (MUSs) in most maritime operations.

The live exercise (LIVEX) phase of ‘REP(MUS) 21' [Robotic Experimentation Prototyping augmented by Maritime Unmanned Systems] was co-organised by the Portuguese Navy, the University of Porto's Faculty of Engineering, and NATO's Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) and Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative (MUSI). The LIVEX was conducted from September 13 to 24 over an area of approximately 1,800 sq n miles between Tróia and Sesimbra.


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Venezuelan shipyards maintain repair deliveries for Venezuelan naval fleet

by Alejandro Sanchez

Venezuelan shipyards have fixed and returned four ships to the Venezuelan navy since late September.

The interceptor craft AB Capaya (LI-05) and AB Catatumbo (LI-03) were delivered back to the Venezuelan navy on 7 October, after undergoing maintenance at the service's Maintenance and Construction Directorate (Dirección de Mantenimiento y Construcción: DMACON).

Capaya and Catatumbo are two of the 10 small interceptor craft that are getting maintenance work by DMACON, the navy said on 29 September. The work and other craft have not been specified or verified, although the navy released photos of AB Arauca , assigned to the coastguard, when announcing the maintenance work.

On 25 September the coastal patrol boats AB Albatros (PG-33) and AB Alcaraván (PG-53) were also delivered. The ships underwent maintenance and repairs at the Venezuelan state-run shipyard Unidad Naval Coordinadora de los Servicios de Carenado, Reparaciones de Casco, Reparaciones y Mantenimiento de Equipos de y Sistemas de Buque (UCOCAR).


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US 5th Fleet vessels operate USVs for the first time

by Jeremy Binnie

A MANTAS T-12 USV operates alongside the Bahraini fast-attack craft RBNS Abdul Rahman al-Fadel (P 22) during Exercise ‘New Horizon' on 26 October. (US Naval Forces Central Command)

The new task force that the US Navy's 5th Fleet set up to pioneer unmanned systems demonstrated its role during an exercise that included Bahraini naval and coastguard vessels.

The 5th Fleet announced on 26 October that the two-day Exercise ‘New Horizon' involved Task Force 59 integrating unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) with manned vessels for the first time in its area of operations.

The first day of the exercise involved operators controlling MANTAS T-12 USVs from USS Firebolt, while the second day involved Bahraini navy and coastguard vessels, as well as a US Coast Guard cutter, a V-BAT vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicle, and an SH-60S Seahawk helicopter.

“This is a significant milestone for our new task force as we accelerate the integration of unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into complex, cross-domain operations at sea,” said Captain Michael Brasseur, commander of Task Force 59, which was established on 9 September.


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UK funds TRED-H demonstrator for organic fire support

by Richard Scott

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has tasked aviation systems house Callen-Lenz Associates to develop, build, and flight test an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) concept demonstrator designed to deliver an organic fire support capability for a small team.

A GBP5 million (USD6.9 million) contract for the Tactical Remote Effects Delivery-Heavy (TRED-H) project was placed by Dstl at the end of September. However, the contract – awarded to Callen-Lenz Associates under the pre-existing RCloud framework agreement – only came to light in a transparency notice published on 26 October.

According to details contained in a heavily redacted statement of requirements released as part of the transparency notice, TRED-H is designed to provide “a responsive, cost-effective, and proportional organic fire support capability that can be controlled and tasked by the deployed team that requires it”. Fitted with a suite of engagement options, the deployed unit should be able to conduct a rapid and accurate response to emerging threats.


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