Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: The Year in Naval Drones

It's time for our annual wrap-up of the stories on unmanned naval systems that most resonated on this site, social media feeds, and the public writ large.  Here are the top naval drone stories of the year:

The introduction of UAVs for maritime missions by non-state actors, specifically migrant rescue and anti-piracy, became reality.


The Royal Navy established a UAV Squadron to intitutionalize its ScanEagle operations.


Despite continued operational testing with the X-47B prototype, politics and indecision created further delays with the U.S. Navy's UCLASS RFP (still not released by the way).


Unmanned systems were key in the Malaysian Airlines Flight #370 Search.


The MQ-8C Fire Scout made significant strides towards its first operational deployment.

The U.S. Navy's Swarming USV program, really a plug and play unmanned craft system, garnered significant interest.


Interestingly, the story that seemed to pick up the most momentum in non-military circles was the Navy's Ghostswimmer UUV.  And that's interesting because this system is neither really new, nor particularly likely to ever be employed operationally.