L3Harris Technologies participated in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)-led International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022. IMX 2022, an 18-day biennial naval training event led by the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, was combined this year with exercise Cutlass Express (CE), which is held annually by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa in East African coastal regions and the West Indian Ocean. Known as the Middle East region’s largest maritime event, the exercise was inaugurated during a ceremony at U.S. 5th Fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain. IMX/CE 2022 had participation from over 9,000 personnel and up to 50 vessels from more than 60 partner nations and international organizations. IMX/CE 2022 was not only the largest multinational naval exercise in the Middle East but also the largest unmanned exercise in the world with more than 80 unmanned systems from 10 nations participating in the exercise dedicated to enhancing partnerships and interoperability to strengthen maritime security. The combined exercises were conducted across the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and North Indian Ocean.
L3Harris partnered with Al Seer Marine and the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S 5th Fleet – Task Force 59 to conduct unmanned system operations in support of the exercise. During IMX/ CE 2022, L3Harris’ Maritime Autonomous Surface Test (MAST) Scarab autonomous surface vessel (ASV), operated from the Royal Navy Fleet Auxiliary landing dock delivering situational awareness and multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. L3Harris’ semi-autonomous operations and C4ISR capabilities demonstrate the value of autonomy solutions for great lethality, readiness and survivability. The exercise enabled participating forces to test unmanned systems and artificial intelligence in different training scenarios and ultimately apply the lessons learned to future real-world operations. The training exercise focused on enhancing capabilities in command and control, sea control, maritime security operations and mine countermeasures; board, search, and seizure; and mass casualty response, among others. The exercise established a combined task force to incorporate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence for manned-unmanned teaming.
MAST Scarab also performed at sea operations in support of the Expeditionary Sea Base Operations, where the vehicle performed over 24 hours of continuous semi-autonomous operations, boat maneuvers and sensor operations autonomously with a single remote operator monitoring. This exercise exhibited the increasing value of autonomous vessels using radar, AIS, and GPS data fused together being supported by L3Harris’ ASView control system for maneuver decision making. L3Harris demonstrated its ASView autonomy-based platforms do not require as many platforms and watch-standers as compared to remotely controlled or other unmanned systems and their processes – providing less complex, more rapid and reliable decision making.
During the IMX exercise, L3Harris’ ASView and Al Seer MAST Scarab vehicle helped build trust in autonomous operations as L3Harris successfully demonstrated and proved that ASVs:
Are reliable for semi-autonomous operations and comply with a multitude of maritime regulations (including COLREGs and NAVDORMs) that are tailored to the region and reduce risk to force and mission
Help reduce risk in latency by using one platform for improved video streaming and, effective C3
Provide benefits as a semi-autonomous USV by freeing up manned platforms for higher-level missions
Show how semi-autonomous operations will improve SUSV endurance and on-station times
Determine how fused sensor data provides opportunity for future AI/ML advanced analytics and sets a path for tactical cloud computing that can discover anomalies for improved pattern-of-life analyses and early warnings
MAST Scarab also demonstrated combat ID targeting capabilities with its world-leading WESCAM MX™-10MS maritime electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) system; as well as command and control software designed to network defensive capabilities into a Common Operating Picture. These EO/IR sensors demonstrated how autonomous vehicles equipped with this technology can provide naval forces with advanced warning and situation awareness. Task Force 59 and the Royal Jordanian Navy also demonstrated the Iver Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). During IMX/ CE 2022, L3Harris’ Iver AUV made an appearance demonstrating its unique, discriminating unmanned underwater capabilities. Equipped with flexible, modular and scalable technologies the Iver demonstrated multiple mission sets, long-endurance capabilities to support contemporary and future operating requirements including long-range surveys, multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-submarine and mine warfare.