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US Navy plans to build an unmanned Ghost Fleet


As the Navy faces more complex threats to its manned ships from Russia and China, the service is moving quickly to field an unmanned “Ghost Fleet” — a new breed of armed unmanned surface combatants will add more sensors and weapons to the current fleet.


US Navy plans to build an unmanned Ghost Fleet The US Navy plans to continue buying two a year until FY 2024, for a total of about $2.7 billion (Picture source: US Navy)


In Fiscal Year 2020, the Navy has budgeted $400 million for two of the proposed large unmanned surface vehicles in its research and development budget line. The Navy plans to continue buying two a year until FY 2024, for a total of about $2.7 billion.

“These are 200- to 300-foot [vessels], 2,000 tons. I’m not sure what the final hull form will be, that’s what we are using today in terms of what the Ghost Fleet buy will be,” Rear Adm. Randy Crites, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, said on Tuesday during a press budget briefing.

The Ghost Fleet will eventually carry vertical launching silos for missiles. Silos such as the U.S. Navy’s Mk. 41 and Mk. 57 can carry everything from SM-2 and SM-6 air defense missiles to the new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile and Naval Strike Missile, to anti-submarine weapons.

A Ghost Fleet ship will be a floating, unmanned reservoir of firepower, augmenting the firepower of manned warships at sea.