The US Fifth Fleet along with the UK Royal Navy (RN) forces have carried out a one-day bilateral exercise Phantom Scope.

It was conducted in the waters off the coast of Bahrain on 7 October.

Phantom Scope aimed to explore the use of uncrewed and artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems to enhance the maritime monitoring tasks of crewed ships and operators deployed ashore.

The exercise involved participation of the RN’s Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel HMS Chiddingfold (M37) and Sandown-class minehunter ship HMS Bangor (M109).

Maritime vessels of the US Navy that took part in this exercise included an Arleigh Burke-Class destroyer USS Delbert D Black (DDG 119) and three Saildrone Explorer uncrewed surface vessels (USVs).

A US Coast Guard’s (USCG) fast response cutter, USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142), also participated in the drills.

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UK RN commodore and UK Middle East-based maritime component commander Adrian Fryer said: “Alongside the more traditional methods, uncrewed systems are an essential tool, and the future, in building this understanding, the picture they provide can enhance the security and stability of the maritime environment.”

As part of this exercise, the participant forces performed integrated operations using uncrewed and AI systems together with crewed vessels and shore-based naval command centres in Bahrain.

The training allowed uncrewed vessels’ sensors to successfully locate and recognise its aides deployed alongside in the water. 

The autonomous systems also helped in the transmission of visual depictions of the surrounding to command centres ashore.

US Fifth Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces and US Naval Forces Central Command commander vice admiral Brad Cooper said: “Putting more eyes out on the water enhances our picture of surrounding seas and enables us to position our crewed ships to react more rapidly.”