U.S. Navy General Atomics
Vice Adm. Michael Moran, principal military deputy assistant Secretary of the Navy, speaks with representatives from General Atomics Aeronautical about the MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned aircraft, left, at Pier 12 on Naval Base San Diego Thursday. Photo credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Natalie Byers

The Navy begins its inaugural manned and unmanned capabilities exercise Monday, led by the U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by the U.S. 3rd Fleet.

The week-long exercise, known as Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem 21 or UxS IBP21, Navy officials said, will generate advantages for the service “by integrating multi-domain manned and unmanned capabilities into the most challenging operational scenarios.”

The Navy will work with several operational, unmanned systems during the exercise. They include the MQ-9 Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessels Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk, and small and medium Unmanned Undersea Vehicles with modular payloads.

A Distinguished Visitor Day, hosted at Naval Base San Diego on Friday, will enable Navy officials and Fleet commanders to view the technology prior to its use in the exercise.

“Building off advances achieved over the past decade in unmanned aviation, Pacific Fleet is answering the Chief of Naval Operations’ drive to put the Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Plan into action,” said Rear Adm. Robert M. Gaucher, director of maritime headquarters at U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“Furthermore, by exercising our full range of unmanned capabilities in a Pacific war-fighting scenario, UxS IBP21 directly supports U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s war-fighting imperative of driving lethality through experimentation.”

The exercise will directly influence service members, warfare centers and developers, according to the Navy. Officials hope to further incorporate unmanned capabilities in day-to-day operations and battle plans, benefitting the Chief of Naval Operations and more.

“The overall goal is to integrate our unmanned capabilities across all domains to demonstrate how they solve CNO and Fleet Commander Key Operational Problems,” Gaucher said. “To get after these problems, (the exercise) will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains, targeting and fires, and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.”

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with other numbered fleets.

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