The UK, US and Australia have strengthened their maritime forces, introducing new uncrewed undersea vessels to extend the range and lethality of their warfare capabilities.
As part of the AUKUS partnership, the nations have taken part in a joint exercise off the east coast of Australia to test new equipment that will increase the protection of critical underwater infrastructure. During the exercise, Australia’s new Undersea Support Vessel, Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance, hosted a range of undersea capabilities while they were tested at sea.
A recent addition to the Australian fleet, the ADV Guidance’s primary role is to support undersea and surveillance systems trials and includes the ability to host a small team of sailors as well as on-board and off-board systems, with both crewed and uncrewed capability. Earlier this month, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, the UK’s Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability, joined international representatives to witness the showcase of a range of advanced undersea capabilities deployed from ADV Guidance.
The UK’s Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tamar, which is on a 5-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific, also played a key role in the exercise. HMS Tamar used a combination of divers and autonomous underwater vehicles to conduct mine countermeasure operations, and monitor critical infrastructure, including pipelines and communication cables.
“The recent AUKUS trials and exercise demonstrate the advances being made possible by our tri-lateral collaboration under the partnership,” said First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key. “It is hugely exciting to see the strength of our three nations, coming together through the AUKUS partnership to successfully develop and demonstrate a range of underwater capabilities that are crucial to ensuring safety and security in the region and more broadly.”
“Submarines are critical to the defence of Australia,” said Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, Royal Australian Navy. “Our submarines, and other military assets, will increasingly work with autonomous systems below and on the surface of the ocean to extend range and lethality.”
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