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Showing posts from July 14, 2013

Ships vs. UUVs for Mine Clearance - Not Mutually Exclusive

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In the July issue of Proceedings (membership required), Royal Navy Commander John Craig argues for the retention of the U.S. Navy's mine countermeasures fleet primarily because unmanned underwater vehicles cannot replace them.  CDR Craig certainly has the credentials to comment smartly on this subject, having recently commanded Britain's 2nd Mine Countermeasures Squadron (2MCM).

The U.S. Navy eventually plans to dispose of its MCM ships (the MHC class mine hunters were previously decommissioned in the 2000s) with the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) embarked with unmanned MCM systems as a planned replacement.  Regardless of the wisdom of this decision, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have been embraced by the U.S. and other modern navies, and are being acquired at a rapid pace.  The gradual shift towards unmanned MCM systems is likely a reflection of shrinking defense budgets, but there are probably some operational advantages to be realized as technology and testing advances.

Video Game AI and the Future UCAV Top Gun

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By Matt Hipple

Roombais useful because it can sweep up regular messes without constant intervention, not because it can exit and enter its docking station independently. Although the Navy’s new X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) has, by landing on a carrier, executed an astounding feat even for humans, this ability only means our weapons have matured past their typical one-way trips. The real challenge will be getting a UCAV to defend units while sweeping up the enemy without remote guidance(i.e. autonomously). The answer is as close as the games running on your Xbox console.


Player One: Insert Coin
Considering the challenge of how an air-to-air UCAV might be programmed, recall that multiple generations of America’s youth have already fought untold legions of advanced UCAV’s. Developers have created artificial “intelligences” designed to combat a human opponent in operational and tactical scenarios with imperfect information; video games have paved the way for unmanned tactical c…