Elbit Systems supports United States Navy with Seagull autonomous vessel

By Arie Egozi

The U.S Navy Fifth Fleet is enhancing the use of unmanned vessels. Earlier this week the American force began a three weeks artificial intelligence integration event in Bahrain. An Elbit Systems autonomous vessel, the Seagull is also being used in the event.

It will involve new platforms in the region for the first time.

The event, called Digital Horizon, will advance the command’s efforts to integrate new unmanned technologies while establishing the world’s first unmanned surface vessel fleet by end of next summer. U.S. Fifth Fleet’s efforts are focused on improving what U.S. and regional navies are able to see above, on and below the water.

“I am excited about the direction we are headed,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “By harnessing these new unmanned technologies and combining them with artificial intelligence, we will enhance regional maritime security and strengthen deterrence. This benefits everybody.”

Cooper established a staff called Task Force 59 in September 2021 to speed new tech integration across U.S. 5th Fleet. Since its launch, the task force has deployed a suite of new unmanned systems from operational hubs in Bahrain and Aqaba, Jordan.

Digital Horizon will include 17 industry partners bringing 15 different types of unmanned systems, 10 of which will operate with U.S. 5th Fleet for the first time.

The unmanned aerial vehicles will include two vertical take-off and landing systems, Aerovel’s Flexrotor and Shield AI’s V-BAT as well as Easy Aerial’s tethered UAV. The unmanned surface vessels will include the Elbit Systems Seagull, Exail DriX, L3Harris Arabian Fox MAST-13, Marine Advanced Robotics WAM-V, MARTAC T-38 Devil Ray, Ocean Aero TRITON, Open Ocean Robotics Data Xplorer, Saildrone Explorer, Seasats X3 and SeaTrac SP-48.

Industry partners Accenture Federal Services and Big Bear AI will also employ data integration and artificial intelligence systems during the event, and Silvus Technologies will provide line-of-sight radio communications while an unmanned surface vessel from Ocius participates from off the coast of Western Australia.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet operating under Centcom is based in Manama, Bahrain and includes maritime forces operating in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Bab al-Mandeb.

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