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17/01/24: US Navy’s Task Force 59 Commissions New Unmanned Operations Task Group

The task group, Task Group 59.1, emphasizes the operational deployment of advanced unmanned systems teamed with many manned operators to boost maritime security across the Middle East. The team is striving to bring budding and relevant technology to the warfighters and doing it fast, said Captain Colin Corridan, the Task Force 59 commodore. Breaking moulds of the legacy acquisition model needs a certain level of connective tissue between the industry partners and end-user operators, and 59.1 answers that bell.

The sailors will enable the smooth integration of new technologies introduced to the operators in the theatre. Lt. Luis Echeverria, a surface warfare officer with over 60,000 recorded unmanned operating hours at sea across 34 operations and exercises with Task Force 59, took on the command of the task group “The Pioneers”. The opportunity for a junior officer like Echeverria to take command is first-of-its-kind for the unmanned task force. Also, it highlights the need for a cadre of specialists at junior levels to be in the position of leadership.

The Task Group 59.1 is all set to take on the capabilities of the TF 59’s unmanned systems and, thereby, charter new ground with unmanned and manned teaming concepts, Echeverria declared. They are the pioneers of the future of the country’s Navy, and they could not be more honoured to spearhead the team. In recent months, Task Force 59 has carried out a series of unmanned exercises to advance lethality at sea. The exercises used live munitions fired from a T-38 Devil Ray unmanned surface vessel for striking a training target. The munitions hit each time.

Corridan mentioned that these achievements need the next tactical move to be handled efficiently. Corridan explained that the talent pool attracted to operating unmanned systems is exceptional, and the operator’s trust and experience with robots are preparing the next generation of sailors who can use the advanced hybrid fleet. The unique team, 59.1, identified to head the endeavour, will lead the way for the whole Navy in the mixed fleet. He is excited to experience what is there ahead for these pioneers.

Established in 2021 (September), Task Force 59 is the Navy’s first-ever unmanned and AI-based Task Force. It has undergone testing and upgrading, evolved and operated with over 23 unmanned systems. The TF 59 flawlessly integrates unmanned systems and AI with maritime operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help maintain naval security and regional stability in the Middle East.

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