BLUF

Navy is experimenting with Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems to deliver maritime air power effects.

Summary

Will Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (MTUAS) or Vertical Take Off/Landing (VTOL) UAS become the future cargo of aircraft carriers? Will they carry larger fleets of lighter UAS, potentially reducing the number of seagoing personnel required? Or will aircraft carriers be superseded by a greater number of smaller, less expensive vessels, capable of navigating archipelagos, and can perform roles across multiple domains? Imagine our RAN expanding their air capabilities to include shlips carrying seagoing squadrons of tactical drones? With air characteristics of perspective and precision UAS are capable of delivering the core air power roles - ISR, strike, and close air support - in defence of our national interests such as commercial vessels navigating the vital maritime trade routes to our North. Navy’s recently commissioned 822X Squadron (SQN) is committed to experimenting and evaluating MTUAS technology. The RAN's UAS capabilities continue to reach important milestones leveraging the endurance and optical sensors of ScanEagle AV1422 and Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100. Noting Australia is an island nation with a maritime security strategy, it is important that any air practitioner understands MTUAS capabilities when planning a regional air campaign.