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10 Jan 2023

Saildrone USVs, U.S. Destroyer Test How Drones Could ID Objects for Warships Crews

Saildrone USVs, U.S. Destroyer Test How Drones Could ID Objects for Warships Crews
Image: USNI
Originally posted on USNI News

Guided-missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) and two Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessels operated by U.S. 5th Fleet participated in a three-day maritime exercise led by the International Maritime Security Construct, the Navy announced Monday.

The destroyer and two drones were part of exercise Sentinel Shield, completed by IMSC’s Coalition Task Force, according to a Navy news release. In addition to the U.S., IMSC members include Albania, Bahrain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Saudi Arabia, the Seychelles, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

As part of Sentinel Shield, unmanned and artificial intelligence systems worked with Delbert D. Black and the coalition’s command center, located in Bahrain, according to the release. The AI and unmanned systems located and identified objects in waters nearby and then would send visual depictions to watchstanders.

The exercise was designed to show how the two systems could increase the coalition’s maritime domain awareness, therefore increasing security in the waters around the Middle East, Royal Saudi Navy Capt. Alamri Assem, CTF Sentinel’s director of plans, said in the release.

A similar exercise took place in August involving Royal Bahrain Naval Force ship RBNS Ahmed Al-Fateh and USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318). A 5th Fleet Saildrone Explorer was also a part of that exercise.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy briefly captured two Saildrone Explorers in September. They had been operating in the Southern Red Sea at the time, USNI News previously reported.

Delbert D. Black, as well as USS Nitze (DDG-94), recovered the USVs from the IRIN. At the end of August, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy tried to capture a Saildrone Explorer in the Persian Gulf.

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