Switchblade 300 fired from USV as part of US/UK sensor-to-shooter demo

by Richard Scott

An AeroVironment Switchblade 300 tactical precision-guided missile is fired from the UK's MADFOX USV during the NATO ‘REP(MUS) 21' exercise. (AeroVironment)

The US Navy (USN) and UK Royal Navy (RN) have successfully executed a maritime sensor-to-shooter (S2S) demonstration culminating in the firing of an AeroVironment Switchblade 300 tactical precision-guided missile from an experimental unmanned surface vessel (USV).

Part of a US/UK Interoperability to Interchangeability (I2I) initiative using unmanned/uncrewed systems, the S2S capability demonstration formed part of last month's NATO ‘REP(MUS) 21' exercise off Portugal. The Switchblade 300 weapon was targeted using information from an AeroVironment Puma 3 AE unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Exercise ‘REP(MUS) 21' – an abbreviation of Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping Augmented by Maritime Unmanned Systems – is an annual exercise jointly organised by the Portuguese Navy, the University of Porto, NATO's Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, and the NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative. The event, hosted at the Portuguese Navy's Centre for Operational Experimentation held in Troia, gives NATO allies and partners an opportunity to field and evaluate new uncrewed and autonomous maritime technologies.

The S2S test event was designed to demonstrate the interoperability of multiple US/UK control system capabilities to facilitate the transfer – through the Puma 3 AE communications relay connection – of tactical control and planning tasks of interchangeable, cross-domain assets. The demonstration involved the Naval Information Warfare Center's C-SCAPE Common Control System (CCS), the Naval Undersea Warfare Center's Control Station Human-Machine Interface (CaSHMI) system, the UK Ministry of Defence's Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) command-and-control (C2) framework, and AeroVironment's proprietary Crysalis ground control system. The various control systems utilised a new STANAG 4586 Level 4 interface.

For the purposes of the S2S demonstration, the Puma 3 AE UAS – launched from the expeditionary fast transport USNS

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The US Navy (USN) and UK Royal Navy (RN) have successfully executed a maritime sensor-to-shooter (S2...

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