US Task Force 59 Launches New Unmanned Task Group 59.1
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 59 commissioned a new task group.
The task group, known as Task Group 59.1, focuses on the operational deployment of unmanned systems teamed with manned operators to bolster maritime security across the Middle East region.
“We are bringing budding, relevant technology to warfighters and doing it fast,” said Capt. Colin Corridan, Task Force 59 commodore. “Breaking the molds of the legacy acquisition model requires a level of connective tissue between industry partners and the end user operators, and 59.1 answers that bell. Our Sailors will be there to ensure seamless integration of new tech introduced to operators while in theater.”
Lt. Luis Echeverria, a surface warfare officer with over 60,000 unmanned operating hours at sea across 34 operations and exercises with Task Force 59, assumed command of the task group, dubbed “The Pioneers”. This opportunity for a junior officer such as Echeverria to assume command is a first for the unmanned task force and highlights the growing need for a cadre of experts at more junior levels to be in positions of leadership.
“Task Group 59.1 is ready to take the capabilities of TF 59’s unmanned systems and charter new ground with manned and unmanned teaming concepts,” said Echeverria. “We are ‘the pioneers’ for the future of our Navy, and I couldn’t be more honored to lead this team.”
In recent months, Task Force 59 has conducted a series of unmanned exercises to advance lethality at sea. The exercises used live munitions fired from a T-38 Devil Ray unmanned surface vessel to strike a training target. The munitions hit every time.
Corridan said these achievements require the next tactical step to be handled effectively.
“The innovative talent pool that is attracted to working with unmanned systems is unmatched, and the operator trust and experience with robots is ultimately developing the next generation of Sailors that will operate the hybrid fleet,” Corridan said. “The handpicked team that is 59.1, identified to pioneer this endeavor will be leading the way for the Navy in the hybrid fleet ecosystem. I’m very excited for what lies ahead for the pioneers.”
Established in September 2021, Task Force 59 is the Navy’s first Unmanned and Artificial Intelligence Task Force. It has tested, upgraded, evolved and operated with more than 23 different unmanned systems. TF 59 integrates unmanned systems and artificial intelligence with maritime operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprising 21 nations, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb.