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ROV NEWS: Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Deploys Unmanned Surface Vehicle

Posted on 18.12.2003 - 02:31 UTC in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

By Journalist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Rebekah Caruso, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) ## Dec. 1, USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and the entire USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) wrote a new page in the history books with the successful launch of Spartan Scout. Spartan Scout, a rigid hull inflatable boat with an enhanced engine and hi-tech camera and sensor gear, completed an unmanned, three-hour mission driven remotely from three laptop computers in the Combat Direction Center (CDC) aboard Gettysburg.

The need for unmanned vehicles came into focus several years ago when President George W. Bush remarked that “it is clear that the military does not have enough unmanned vehicles.”

Two years ago, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, R.I., started development on the first remote-controlled surface vehicle. The resulting creation, Spartan Scout, has since been developed ahead of schedule to deploy with the Enterprise CSG aboard Gettysburg, responsible for conducting operational testing and assessing its real-world uses.

According to a Gettysburg spokesman, this was the first unmanned operation of the Spartan Scout from a U.S. warship at sea, and marks a significant milestone in the future development of the Spartan Scout Unmanned Surface Vessel.

Spartan Scout has been found very versatile, requiring manpower only for launch and recovery, and is fully capable of being driven through its own remote-controlled navigation system.

“A two-man boat crew launches Spartan, conducts system checks, and then it operates in an unmanned mode for the duration of the mission,” said Cmdr. Chuck Tamblyn, air operations officer for Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12. “This variant of Spartan is designed primarily for surface surveillance and force protection, but future versions will be capable of conducting several, more complex missions.”

“This unmanned surface vessel (USV) expands your sensor range and situational awareness without exposing boat crews to rough seas or weather,” said Tamblyn. “The crew operates the USV from the comfort and safety of the control module in CDC, its sensors feeding information directly the operators.”

Rear Adm. James Stavridis, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, says Spartan Scout has many practical uses in today’s multifaceted and multitasked Navy.

“Using a forward-looking infrared/CCD camera, Spartan Scout can provide surveillance in a harbor, not only for Navy ships but for U.S. Coast Guard units responsible for port security, as well,” said Stavridis. He added that it could provide reconnaissance for ships passing through maritime chokepoints, too.

“The unmanned surface vehicle is a harbinger of transformation.”

Stavridis foresees more than scouting in the prototype’s future. He predicts a wide range of missions and combat focuses that Spartan Scout would be ideal for.

“Spartan Scout could be modified for mine detection or anti-submarine warfare,” said Stravridis. “When equipped with a Hellfire or Javelin missile, it could attack other surface vehicles or conduct precision strikes ashore.”

Gettysburg completed its operational testing with Spartan Scout Dec. 12 and sent the results to NUWC for further evaluation.

For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc.

Story Number: NNS031217-04 Release Date: 12/17/2003 11:30:00 AM

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Source: Navy NewsStand
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