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US Navy Receives Overlord Unmanned Ship Program From DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office

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The U.S. Navy has taken over leadership of a Department of Defense program aimed at converting large commercial ships into unmanned and autonomous vessels.

The DOD Strategic Capabilities Office transitioned the Ghost Fleet Overlord Program to the Navy Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants during a ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, California, Naval Sea Systems Command said Thursday.

As part of the transition, SCO handed over to the Navy office two Overlord prototypes for their continued development and fleet experimentation to inform the service branch’s medium and large unmanned surface vessel programs.

Jay Dryer, director of SCO, explained that the changes will also provide the program with Navy-wide resources to advance autonomous technologies and deliver a USV capability to sailors.

Vice Adm. Stephen Koehler, commander of the 3rd Fleet, pointed out that unmanned systems will support manned platforms as teammates in the future Navy fleet.

Since being launched by SCO in 2018, the Overlord Program worked on perception and autonomy systems; command, control and communications architecture; and improved ship system reliability to produce USVs.