Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, welcomed a Ukrainian delegation to the U.S. Navy’s regional headquarters in Bahrain, March 13.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Arab Emirates Dmytro Senik joined six members of the Ukrainian Parliament for a NAVCENT briefing on regional maritime security cooperation and unmanned technology integration.
The delegation learned about NAVCENT’s latest efforts in integrating advanced unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into regional maritime operations.
An unmanned and artificial intelligence task force NAVCENT established in 2021, called Task Force 59, is currently spearheading an effort to form a multinational fleet of 100 unmanned surface vessels based in the Middle East by end of the summer. U.S. 5th Fleet announced in February the task force and regional partners have approached the halfway point toward that goal.
NAVCENT is currently leading the largest naval exercise in the Middle East, called International Maritime Exercise 2023. The training event includes 7,000 personnel from over 50 countries and organizations, 35 ships and more than 30 unmanned and artificial intelligence systems operating in the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and East African coastal regions.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.