Navy’s New Unmanned Warfare Chief Wants Faster Technology Delivery

Four unmanned remotely operated high-speed maneuvering surface targets move to their blocking positions during an Office of Naval Research-sponsored demonstration of autonomous swarmboat technology on the James River Aug. 13, 2014, in Newport News, Virginia. (Photo by John Paul Kotara/US Navy)Four unmanned remotely operated high-speed maneuvering surface targets move to their blocking positions during an Office of Naval Research-sponsored demonstration of autonomous swarmboat technology on the James River Aug. 13, 2014, in Newport News, Virginia. (Photo by John Paul Kotara/US Navy)

Navy brass are meeting now to prioritize development of unmanned technology for the fleet, the Navy’s first-ever director of unmanned weapons systems said Friday.

Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, who assumed his newly created post last fall, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the first projects for the directorate would in part be determined by sailors themselves.

“We put out a data call to the fleet. What are your primary gaps that you’ve got, needs that you think unmanned systems could help out in, please rack and stack those,” Girrier said. “I got them before Christmas.”

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Hope Hodge Seck
Hope Hodge Seck is a reporter at Military.com. She can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
  • blight_

    ““We put out a data call to the fleet. What are your primary gaps that you’ve got, needs that you think unmanned systems could help out in, please rack and stack those,” Girrier said. “I got them before Christmas.””

    Good choice, go to the users first!

  • conradswims

    Un”maned”????????? Will the boats be womaned? Can’t have that! Still got the word “Man” in it.

  • John P

    Bad idea there are wireless controlled meaning you can jam the signal easily. Fast Brown Water Patrol Boats armored with firepower deployable from destroyers and Frigates or nestled to an LST. Build the boat to the task man it with trained sailors who do not surrender to gunboats.

    • staxxis

      well, just so happens that we have some experience in this area if you consider our current use of drones, but i agree that remotes posit a liability…so make them autonomous (but ‘dumb’ limited focus types). allow the sailors to be involved in other ways so the drones are additive to their toolbox instead of being considered ‘replacements’ to their duties

      and i sincerely hope this article doesn’t mean that we are looking to counter incoming swarms with outgoing swarms of our own—that is just plain stupid