The U.S. Navy on Tuesday christened its latest “Overlord” unmanned surface vessel during a ceremony held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Mariner is equipped with a virtualized form of the Aegis Combat System, autonomous navigation platform and a command-and-control system.
Rear Adm. Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants at the Navy, said the ship will move to California and kick off operations in fiscal year 2023.
Moton said the new USV will bring new capabilities and volume as the service works to learn more about operating unmanned systems and plans for its future fleet of hybrid manned and uncrewed platforms.
He noted that the Navy’s test plan for the Mariner vessel includes at-sea and land-based testing and that the service expects the virtualized Aegis Combat System to allow the new Overlord ship to exercise control over another USV.
“Now we can take two of our USVs and go out and do multi-vessel ops and control and not necessarily have to take a [destroyer] off of actual fleet operations to go do that. It gives us that ability to just get there that much more quickly,” Moton added.