02 Feb 22. USS Fitzgerald Conducts Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise with Japan. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) conducted bilateral training exercises in the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) from Jan. 27 – Feb. 2.
The Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM) program is a series of events focused on anti-submarine warfare procedures and tactics designed to measure how effectively surface ships and aircraft can detect and track submarines. It also served as a joint exercise with JMSDF naval assets, with both countries trading expertise with the other to maximize communication and understanding.
“This is a great opportunity to improve our proficiency in the detection and tracking of submarines and enhances our ability to operate alongside our allies in the JMSDF,” said Cmdr. David Catterall. “These events build on cooperation, and ensure that when we work together, we are a stronger combined force that is ready to confront the undersea threat.”
Fitzgerald was joined by a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) from Commander, Task Force 72, as well as the Japanese destroyer JS Takanami (DDG 110), a submarine, and MPRA aircraft. In the initial days of the event, the ships took advantage of their close proximity and ran maneuvering drills and unit coordination.
“The relationship with JMSDF is a building block that helps our overall partnership with the Japanese,” said Capt. Chase Sargeant, commander, Task Force 71/ Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. “I believe that by conducting the SHAREM and other exercises together, and analyzing the effectiveness of our tactics it will further improve our interoperability.”
Fitzgerald is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 while on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. CTF 71/DESRON 15 is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed fleet and routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect critical regional partnerships. (Source: ASD Network)
02 Feb 22. US Navy kicks off 60-nation maritime exercise in Middle East that includes unmanned, AI tech. The U.S. Navy has begun a major exercise in the Middle East that both brings in 60 regional navies to rehearse operating together and introduces unmanned vehicles and artificial intelligence to test their contributions at sea.
The combined International Maritime Exercise 2022 and Cutlass Express 2022, which runs from Jan. 31 through Feb. 17, is the biggest opportunity yet for the newly created Task Force 59, which falls under the purview of U.S. 5th Fleet and was designed to experiment with and demonstrate unmanned and AI technologies in the maritime domain.
The event will combine 9,000 personnel, 50 ships and about 80 unmanned systems to conduct maritime domain awareness, sea control, maritime security, mine countermeasures and other related missions.
The exercise covers a vast regional area: the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and North Indian Ocean, which span both U.S. 5th Fleet’s and U.S. 6th Fleet’s areas of operations. Participants are split into four exercise task groups in the north, east, south and west. A fifth task group in the exercise, Task Force X, covers the unmanned and AI systems undergoing testing and is partnering with the other four so that unmanned systems can be involved in all the scenarios across geographies.
Notably, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are participating in the maritime exercise; those two countries have not normalized diplomatic relations, despite some surrounding neighbors formally recognizing Israel under the Abraham Accords.
Cmdr. Tom McAndrew, the exercise planner for unmanned systems and AI integration, told reporters in a Feb. 2 media call that AI and machine learning were integrated in the bulk of the events that would take place.
Though he said he couldn’t provide specific details for security reasons, he did note that a major theme is AI and ML in support of maritime domain awareness. For example, a task group commander might have access to a lot of imagery — from sensors on ships and aircraft, from unmanned systems, from public access cameras, social media and more — but the images alone don’t necessarily create a clear picture of what’s happening in the operating area. AI and ML tools can help collect the images and process them into something the commander can use to make informed decisions.
Additionally, he cited search and rescue as one topic that would be covered in the exercise and could benefit from unmanned systems and AI tools. Unmanned systems, especially when fielded in large numbers and employed on a continuous basis, can search the water faster and more accurately than manned platforms, McAndrew said, and some platforms can assist the rescuee until a manned ship or aircraft arrives.
Not all the participating nations and organizations are bringing unmanned systems, he said, but all will be exposed to them and what they can contribute to routine maritime missions. A Navy news release stated that 10 nations are bringing unmanned air, surface and undersea systems.
Leaders from the U.S. Navy and from Bahrain pose for a photo at Naval Support Activity Bahrain on Jan. 31, 2022, at the start of the International Maritime Exercise 2022 and Cutlass Express 2022. (MS1 Mark Thomas Mahmod/U.S. Navy)
Cmdr. Kenyatta Martin, the lead exercise planner for International Maritime Exercise, said during the same call that the drill is being held at an unclassified level so all participants can practice sending and receiving data in the simplest way. In the coming years, he said, future operations or exercises could start to incorporate unmanned systems and AI tools in the collection and sharing of classified information.
Martin said planning for the exercise started in December 2020, and the unmanned portion wasn’t added in until about halfway through the planning process, meaning the fundamentals of the exercise, its organization and the scenarios weren’t designed with the new technology in mind. But the unmanned system and AI tools laid in nicely, he said.
“Once we did incorporate the unmanned systems [as] part of the exercise, it was quite a bit of interest from our partner nations to participate — and not just on a level of curiosity [and observing only], but a level of integration and participation with the knowledge of this unmanned and AI being a part of the coalition force,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
01 Feb 22. US NAVCENT-led International Maritime Exercise 2022 begins. IMX/CE 2022 is an 18-day biennial naval training event in the Middle East. The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) has commenced the Middle East region’s largest maritime exercise in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Known as International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022, the 18-day biennial naval training event was launched during a ceremony at US 5th Fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain.
The event is combined with exercise Cutlass Express (CE), which is conducted annually by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa in the West Indian Ocean and East African coastal regions.
It will witness the participation of 9,000 personnel and up to 50 vessels from over 60 partner countries and international organisations operating across two regions.
US Naval Forces Central Command US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces commander vice-admiral Brad Cooper said: “This level of representation demonstrates shared resolve in preserving the rules-based international order. This is a unique opportunity to increase our capabilities and interoperability while strengthening maritime ties.”
With over 80 unmanned systems from ten participating countries, IMX/CE 2022 is also claimed to be the largest uncrewed exercise in the world.
The officials were briefed on new uncrewed capabilities during the first day of the maritime exercise.
IMX/CE 2022 aims to provide participating forces a platform to trial uncrewed solutions and artificial intelligence in diverse training setups.
Training will lay emphasis on improving capabilities in command and control, sea control, and maritime security operations, as well as mine countermeasures.
International naval forces participating in IMX/CE 2022 are segregated into four geographical combined task forces that are steered by the UAE, Egypt, Kenya, and Oman.
Task Force X, a combined task force, has also been formed for carrying out exercises involving uncrewed systems and artificial intelligence integration. During this year’s combined exercise, the training evolutions will cover the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and North Indian Ocean. The event is scheduled to finish on 17 February. This is the seventh iteration of IMX, which was initiated in 2012. In September last year, the US Navy declared the commencement of the UNITAS LXII annual multinational maritime exercise near Lima, Peru. (Source: naval-technology.com)
About InVeris Training Solutions
InVeris Training Solutions combines an agile approach with an unmatched expertise in training technology to design and deliver customized, cutting-edge, first-rate training solutions that keep military, law enforcement and commercial range customers safe, prepared and ready to serve – Because Seconds Matter™. With a portfolio of technology-enabled training solutions, and a team of 400 employees driven to innovate, InVeris Training Solutions is the global leader in integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training solutions. With its legacy companies, FATS® and Caswell, InVeris Training Solutions has fielded over 15,500 live-fire ranges and 7,500 virtual systems globally during its 95-year history. The Company is headquartered in Suwanee, Georgia and partners with clients in the US and around the world from facilities on five continents.