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Navy, Marines to focus on increasing drone infrastructure

A REMUS 600 autonomous underwater vehicle  from the University of Texas at Austin is offloaded following a mission during a demonstration of unmanned undersea vehicles at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in September 2015. Photo by John F. Williams/U.S. Navy
A REMUS 600 autonomous underwater vehicle  from the University of Texas at Austin is offloaded following a mission during a demonstration of unmanned undersea vehicles at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in September 2015. Photo by John F. Williams/U.S. Navy

March 16 (UPI) -- The Navy and Marine Corps plan to build a digital infrastructure to integrate drone capabilities, per a strategy the services released Tuesday.

In addition to drone-specific infrastructure plans, the 40-page Unmanned Campaign Plan includes plans to incentivize rapid development and testing of unmanned systems and advance manned-unmanned teaming effects across naval and joint operations.

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"The Navy and Marine Corps unmanned campaign plan serves as a roadmap for how we will realize a future where unmanned systems serve as an integral part of the Navy's warfighting team in support of distributed maritime operations," Vice Adm. Jim Kilby said in a Navy press release announcing the strategy's release.

"The plan lays out how we will scale tested and proven systems as well as develop the core technologies required to successfully integrate unmanned systems into the fleet," said Kilby who is deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting requirements and capabilities.

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The framework is intended to provide a strategy for integrating drone systems the services are developing in order to provide lethal, survivable and scalable effects for maritime drones in the future.

"Today's global security environment has seen a return to Great Power Competition," the Navy said in the release.

"This shift has placed the Department of the Navy at an inflection point where a traditional force structure will not be enough in the face of new warfighting demands. Autonomous systems are not a replacement -- they provide additional capacity and capability to our combatant force and allows commanders the ability to accept risk where they couldn't before."

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