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Defense Department Strategic Capabilities Office

US - Second Long-Range Test for US Navy's Unmanned Surface Vessels

The U.S. Navy continues to push forward with its efforts to experiment and test autonomous surface shipping. One of the vessels in the Ghost Fleet Overlord Surface program recently completed the second long-range test including a transit of the Panama Canal focusing on the endurance of the vessel as the Navy plans to expand and accelerate its work with unnamed vessels.

The U.S. Navy continues to push forward with its efforts to experiment and test autonomous surface shipping. One of the vessels in the Ghost Fleet Overlord Surface program recently completed the second long-range test including a transit of the Panama Canal focusing on the endurance of the vessel as the Navy plans to expand and accelerate its work with unnamed vessels.

The unmanned vessel, named Nomad traveled 4,421 nautical miles from the Gulf Coast, passing through the Panama Canal, to the West Coast. Remote mission command and control for the endurance voyage was conducted from an Unmanned Operations Center onshore manned by the U.S. Navy from Surface Development Squadron One. The vessel operated in autonomous mode for 98 percent of the voyage while the transit of the Panama Canal was in manual mode.

The Nomad’s voyage was part of a repositioning of the vessels to San Diego from their previous base on the Gulf Coast. According to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), which in partnership with the U.S. Navy oversees the program, the voyage provided an opportunity for extended testing of vessel endurance, autonomous operations, and interoperability of government command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems with vendor autonomy, hull mechanical and hull electrical systems.

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