Naval forces assigned to the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain conducted a series of integration serials of uncrewed platforms with crewed warships operating in the Arabian Gulf in a bid to augment ongoing maritime security operations in the region.

An 6 October release from US Naval Forces Central Command stated that in September seven task forces falling under US 5th Fleet integrated 12 different uncrewed platforms with crewed ships for “manned-unmanned teaming” operations, tracking Iranian Navy and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) ships and small boats over several days during routine patrols in and around the Strait of Hormuz.

The area has seen a number of incidents in recent months involving apparent Iranian attacks on commercial shipping seeking to transit the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically located waterway between Oman and Iran through which around one-third of seaborne oil is transport each year, along with around one quarter of the world’s maritime liquified natural gas trade.

“We have been operating UAVs and UUVs in the region for years,” said Captain Joe Baggett, Director of Maritime Operations for US Naval Forces Central Command and US 5th Fleet. “Adding our new USVs, and then integrating all of these platforms into fleet operations, is how we expect to fly and sail well into the future.”

The US Naval Forces Central Command said that uncrewed systems operating on surface, subsurface, and airborne, were involved in the operation. US Navy sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, ships and aircraft from Task Force 51/5 (Amphibious/Marine), Task Force 52 (Mine Countermeasures), Task Force 53 (Logistics), Task Force 55 (Surface Warfare), Task Force 56 (Expeditionary), Task Force 57 (Patrol/Reconnaissance) and Task Force 59 (Unmanned/Artificial Intelligence) conducted the operations.

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