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US Navy successfully conducts missile strike during first fleet exercise with unmanned systems

The US Navy (USN) successfully fired a missile at a long-range target on 25 April as part of the ‘Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem (UxS IBP) 21’ exercise off the coast of San Diego, USN officials confirmed.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) launched an Extended Range Active Standard Missile (SM-6), striking a target well beyond the line of sight during ‘UxS IBP) 21,’ the service’s first fleet exercise using unmanned systems, USN officials said on 26 April at the conclusion of the eight-day exercise.

Integrated manned and unmanned systems established a track for the missile launch, USN officials reported.

“The missile shoot was definitely challenging,” Lieutenant Commander Ryan Doyle, ‘UxS IBP 21’ lead live-fire planner, said in a statement. “This entire exercise was a great opportunity to get staff exercise planners, program designers and most importantly sailors to work together and integrate multiple unmanned capabilities that are tactically relevant in many areas of the world,” he added.

Discussing the exercise during an April 26 briefing with the media, USN officials noted that while other platforms could perform similar operations as those conducted by unmanned systems during the exercise, the addition of the unmanned systems in those operations would make the overall naval force more effective.

Using unmanned systems for those missions they added, would also make it more difficult for opposing forces to counter USN operations.

“Unmanned technologies are being rapidly integrated into the fleet for use, and our gained advantage is in the integration and collaboration between manned and unmanned capabilities tailored to the particular situation and phase of conflict,” Captain TJ Zerr, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 21, said in a statement.

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