More than 300 personnel from four countries, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, participated in the exercise which brought together over 30 distinct systems.
Throughout the exercise, unmanned surface, subsurface and aerial systems performed a variety of missions around HMAS Creswell and in the East Australian Exercise Area. The range of missions performed and supported by the systems was diverse, including force protection, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), and strike.
Unmanned Systems at Autonomous Warrior
AeroVironment, flying their RQ-20 Puma All Environment (AE), Long Endurance (LE) and Switchblade platforms, constituted the bulk of the fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) fleet. RQ-20 AEs’, outfitted with night and day cameras, provided real-time imagery back to the exercise control centre. RQ-20 LEs, meanwhile, with their extended endurance and range, operated as communication relays for a variety of unmanned systems, extending their range, and providing redundant communication links. In a display at the end of the exercise, a Puma was used to identify a target, which was then prosecuted with a ship-launched Switchblade 300.
Several MARTAC Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV), including the RAN’s new DEVIL RAY T38, were active during the exercise. Naval News could witness them while underway in Jervis Bay. Two MANTAS T12s, smaller electrically driven USVs outfitted with sensors, were also being used. Commodore Darron Kavanaugh, Director-General Warfare Innovation Navy (WIN) told Naval News that an important capability offered by the MARTAC products was their ability to “nest” wherein the smaller T12 drives onto the larger T38s aft. During the exercise one T12, each from Australia and New Zealand cooperated to perform a range of missions.
A full list of systems that participated in the exercise is attached at the bottom of this article.
Common Control Systems
Command and Control (C2) of unmanned and autonomous systems was also an important aspect of the exercise. The Royal Australian Navy wants to develop a sovereign Common Control System (CCS) for unmanned assets operating in the maritime domain. The CCS will integrate air, surface and subsurface assets into a singular C2 environment, where they can be controlled from a single station.
Integrating assets operating in different domains is not the only challenge for CCS. Because unmanned systems generate a massive amount of data, the CCS will have to autonomously develop and classify incoming data streams for human operators. CCS also has to be able to interact with a range of software and hardware standards. To make the challenge of fielding an Australian CCS even harder, CCS systems on display at AW22 had their up/downlink capped at 20mbps, to simulate shipboard operations.
Two main CCS solutions were being trialled at AW22. CCS, which is being developed for the U.S Navy, and QUASAR/MAPLE which is being developed by QinetiQ for the Royal Navy. Both solutions comprise more than just a set of C2 tools and include a myriad of regulatory and technical standards for unmanned systems.
List of Systems that participated in Autonomous Warrior 2022
|Puma AE||Unmanned Aerial System||AreoVironment|
|Puma LE||Unmanned Aerial System||AreoVironment|
|Ghost||Unmanned Aerial System||Anduril Australia|
|DIVE-LD||Autonomous Underwater Vehicle||Anduril Australia|
|ARCIMS||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Atlas Elektronik|
|SeaFox||Autonomous Underwater Vehicle||Atlas Elektronik|
|Devil Ray T38||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Martac|
|Mantas T12||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Martac|
|Critical Incident Response Vehicle||Unmanned Ground System||Royal Australian Navy|
|Marine Evolutions Response Vessel||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Royal Australian Navy|
|Remus 100||Autonomous Underwater Vehicle||HII|
|Revolution ROV||Remotely Operated Vehicle||Commerical ROV Australia|
|Callisto-50||Unmanned Aerial System||DSTG/Freespace Operations|
|SEAGULL||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Elbit Systems Australia|
|THOR||Unmanned Aerial System||Elbit Systems Australia|
|HUGIN||Autonomous Underwater Vehicle||Kongsberg Maritime|
|Bluebottle||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Ocius|
|Saildrone||Unmanned Surface Vessel||Saildrone|
|IF1200||Unmanned Aerial System||Seismic Asia Pacific|
|NemoSens||Unmanned Underwater Vehicle||Seismic Asia Pacific|
|Flamingo Mk3||Unmanned Aerial System||Silvertone UAV|
|Cotesia||Unmanned Aerial System||Silvertone UAV|
|MV Sycamore||Offshore Patrol Vessel||Royal Australian Navy|