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Spartan deployed on USS Gettysburg (CG-64)

NAVSEA News Wire

Release Date: 12/8/2003

By Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport, Public Affairs Office

USS Gettysburg is part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, currently deployed to the Arabian Gulf. As part of the Navy's only deployed Strike Group, Enterprise and Gettysburg are conducting missions in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Within that effort is the Spartan Scout, a Department of Defense (DoD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration under the direction of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, which has been received high praise from the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to which it's deployed.

Spartan is a modular, reconfigurable, multi-mission, high-speed, semi-autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) capable of carrying payloads of 3000 and 5000 lbs for 7 and 11 meter crafts, respectively. Integrated as an expeditionary sensor and weapon system designed to be a primary force leveler against asymmetric threats, it enables a battleforce commander to match inexpensive threats with an appropriate response.

On its first major deployment with the Fleet, the 7-meter rigid-hull inflatable Spartan USV is being carried and controlled by the USS Gettysburg (CG-64). The onboard Spartan prototype is configured with electro-optical/infrared surveillance turret, surface search radar, digital imagery transmission suite, and an unmanned command and control suite.

Rear Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of the Enterprise Strike Group likens the Spartan Scout as a harbinger of transformation, much like the Flyer, the Wright brothers first powered aircraft

As part of its mission with the Enterprise Strike Group Spartan is demonstrating its abilities as a Force Protection asset by providing an effective response to asymmetric threats such as small boats, "Spartan Scout meets a need for ship force protection," noted RADM Stavridis in a recent letter to Defense News. "Spartan Scout can provide surveillance in a harbor, not only for Navy ships but also U.S. Coast Guard units responsible for port security." "It can be modified for mine detection or anti-submarine warfare. When equipped with Hellfire or Javelin missiles, it could attack other surface vessels or conduct precision strikes ashore. And, unlike any other unmanned system, unmanned surface vessels can relay communications to aircraft, ships, and submarines" wrote RADM Stavridis.

The Spartan Scout was also the topic of discussion and one of the reasons for a recent visit by Secretary of the Navy Gordon England to the Gettysburg while he was touring various assets in the North Arabian Gulf.

As a low cost force multiplier, USVs provide increased sensor coverage in a net-centric environment, thus enabling a rapid establishment of battlespace dominance while eliminating unnecessary risk to personnel and naval vessels.

The Spartan Scout ACTD is aimed at addressing joint warfighting needs in the increasingly complex and contested littorals. In the ACTD, Spartan is specifically focused on demonstrating the military utility of modular, multi-mission USVs as extended sensor and weapons platforms conducting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA), Precision Strike, and Shallow Water Undersea Warfare (USW) missions in support of Joint Task Force, Battle Group, Amphibious, and Sealift operations,

The current version of the Spartan Scout used by the USS Gettysburg is the ISR Spiral - Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance. The ISR version allows the ship's crew to establish a Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP) around the cruiser and carrier, provide force protection and possibly provide real time surveillance around ships being boarded by Navy teams.

According to the NUWC Spartan Program Manager, Dr. Vittorio Ricci, the reports being received from the Fleet on the Spartan ISR spiral have been very positive. "Future spirals are planned to demonstrate warfighting capability in scenarios engaging hostile threats with gun and missile systems. Additional demonstrations will include Mine Warfare (MIW) capabilities. Also, planning is on going to develop and demonstrate Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities," said Ricci.

Prior to its deployment with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, Spartan had limited participation in several Fleet exercises including a Joint Task Force Exercise off Morehead City, N.C., and the Fleet Battle Experiment - Juliet, both in 2002.



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