The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship will now have the ability to operate surface and undersea drones to improve effectiveness, particularly when it comes to destroying mines, surveying enemy waters and launching attacks.
The growing fleet of unmanned surface vessels has made rapid technological improvements in recent months, including being capable of performing longer-range surveillance. They've also become more effective at neutralizing mines and launching coordinated drone attacks.
Ocean drones are gaining new forms of autonomy, thanks to new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and improved algorithms, the Navy strategy's emphasizes that humans will still be needed to make decisions such as when and if to fire weapons or others needed for combat.
"As part of the expanding shipbuilding portfolio, the Navy expects to have USVs (unmanned surface vessels) play a large, critical role working in concert with manned systems," Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, said in an interview with Warrior Maven. "Just like UUVs [unmanned underwater vehicles] will not replace submarines, we do not envision USVs replacing manned surface combatants. But they will work in concert"