The US Department of Defense (DoD) has successfully tested its unmanned boat, the Ghost Fleet Overlord, in a recent test that saw it travel more than 5,400 miles, with minimal human contact. The test is a massive milestone for the drone boat and the Ghost Fleet Overlord program.

After completing its big journey, the boat went straight into the Dawn Blitz military exercise, where it was also reported to be autonomous for the most part.

The Dawn Blitz is an annual military exercise put on by the Navy and Marine Corps to simulate an amphibious assault by landing infantry and support on a beach.

Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) director Jay Dryer shared:

This is a historic milestone for the program and the navy. It represents what SCO does best: integrate mature technologies to accelerate service priorities and create new capabilities for our warfighters.

The Ghost Fleet Overlord program is an initiative to integrate autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) into the US Navy’s current fleet. The program focuses on taking current ships used by the Navy and converting them into autonomous ones using off-the-shelf components and government-owned ones.

The next phase of the program will see government control and command systems and payloads being intergraded into the ASVs, to reach the standards required for the more complex missions undertaken by the Navy. The US Navy is also expected to order two more prototype units to go along with the current two already tested.

The two oldest prototypes are also expected to be transitioned to the Navy’s Surface Development Squadron One by the end of the year. The Surface Development Squadron One was introduced in 2019 to encourage innovation, experimentation, and combat readiness. The objectives of the squadron are as follows:

  • Execute experimentation to support the development of new and emerging surface warfighting capabilities.
  • Develop material and technical solutions to tactical challenges.
  • Coordinate doctrine, organization, training, material, logistics, personnel, and facilities requirements for unmanned surface systems.

Photo: U.S. Navy


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