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Saildrone takes to the water in Red Sea

14th December 2021 - 17:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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US and Jordanian personnel inspect the Saildrone Explorer USV. (Photo: USN)

USN Task Force 59 is integrating USVs and AI into 5th Fleet operations.

US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) on 12 December began operational tests of a Saildrone Explorer USV in the Gulf of Aqaba under Exercise Digital Horizon.  

In November 2021, senior US and Jordanian naval officers announced that the Royal Jordanian Navy facility at Aqaba would become a joint hub for Saildrone operations in the Red Sea, as USN Task Force 59 begins to integrate new uncrewed systems and AI into 5th Fleet operations.

The wind-powered Saildrone Explorer is 7m long and 4.7m tall, equipped with solar-powered sensors for maritime ISR.

‘Our Saildrones leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance maritime domain awareness, extending the digital horizon with a sustainable, zero-carbon solution,’ said Task Force 59 commander Capt Michael Brasseur.

Task Force 59 began operations in September 2021. In October, it integrated and evaluated new MANTAS T-12 USVs alongside crewed ships in the Arabian Gulf during Exercise New Horizon; and on 4 December it initiated at-sea operational tests for a MANTAS T-38 USV off the coast of Bahrain.

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