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ADF takes a spin in Devil Ray T38 USV during Autonomous Warrior 2023

SMN Elvie Tatersall, LEUT Ian Whitehead and contractors from MARTAC took the 'Devil Ray' T38 Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) out in Jervis Bay for trial runs. SMN Elvie Tatersall is a Navy Gap Year member and has been attached to AW23 to gain some hands on experiences. Photo: LSCIS-C Peta Binns.

Australian Defence Force personnel have taken the “Devil Ray”’ T38 unmanned surface vessel for a spin during the Autonomous Warrior 2023 Invitational activity held earlier this month.

Australian Defence Force personnel have taken the “Devil Ray”’ T38 unmanned surface vessel for a spin during the Autonomous Warrior 2023 Invitational activity held earlier this month.

Defence personnel and staff from Florida’s Maritime Tactical Systems (MARTAC) company trialled the USV in Jervis Bay during the Royal Australian Navy-led Operational Experimentation activity conducted from 15 October to 3 November this year.

Autonomous Warrior 2023 Invitational is reportedly focused on achieving undersea warfare-related objectives and developing robotic autonomous systems artificial intelligence (RAS-AI) common control for the ADF maritime domain.

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Exercise Autonomous Warrior has previously tested and evaluated around 40 uncrewed, robotic and autonomous systems over two weeks in Jervis Bay.

The 11.1-metre, 2,042-kilogram payload Devil Ray is powered by an inboard/outboard propulsion to a cruising speed of 25 knots or a burst speed of at least 60 knots in fully autonomous, semi-autonomous or full operator control modes.

The Royal Australian Navy is understood to be seeking advancements in RAS technology to improve safety for Defence personnel and civilians, and undertake unmanned operations with subsea equipment company BlueZone, which is representing MARTAC in Australia.

Internationally, the T-38 Devil Ray unmanned surface vessel has been used by the US Navy in the Middle East. The USV was deployed during maritime security and stability operations in the Arabian Gulf as part of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet Task Force 59, according to the US Department of Defense.

Earlier this year in January, the multinational naval partnership, Combined Maritime Forces, undertook vessel boarding procedures in the Arabian Gulf using the MARTAC T38 Devil Ray. That exercise, which promotes security, stability, prosperity, and countering illicit non-state actors, included vessels from Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabi from the 34-member partnership which includes Australia.

US Navy Task Force 59, established in 2021, has previously promoted integration of unmanned systems and artificial intelligence technology to improve bilateral, military, and international maritime operations in the region with international partners such as Israel, Bahrain, and Jordan.

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