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March 16, 2022

USMC helicopters demonstrate manned-unmanned teaming

The Navy-Marine Corps team improved planning and coordination during the strike coordination and reconnaissance training.

The US Navy and the US Marine Corps (USMC) have successfully demonstrated manned-unmanned teaming capability during an exercise in California.

The strike coordination and reconnaissance training exercise was held at Naval Air Facility El Centro.

It saw the participation of marines from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) and sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 (HSC-23).

The Navy-Marine Corps team deployed their UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters and a MQ-8C Fire Scout uncrewed helicopter for the demonstration.

The UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters conducted attacks while MQ-8C Fire Scout assisted with the target detection and strike coordination during the exercise.

The training exercise provided an opportunity for the team to further refine planning, communication, and coordinate attacks from manned and uncrewed rotary-wing aircraft.

VMX-1 commanding officer colonel Byron Sullivan said: “This opportunity promotes greater familiarisation and concept development of the manned-unmanned teaming that builds confidence and efficiency throughout the Blue-Green Team.

“Our partnership plays an integral part of the Commandant and [Chief of Naval Operation]’s vision to embrace the future of warfare and turn it into our advantage on the battlefield.”

The manned-unmanned tactics development is carried out in line with the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.

VMX-1 Science and Technology lead major Ben Henry said: “Adversaries are going to be placed on the horns of a dilemma as we strengthen our naval expeditionary force in leveraging unmanned systems to complement our rotary wing.”

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