US Navy’s ‘Ghost Fleet’ Arrives In Japan Amidst Increasing Tensions With China

Two sister ships measure about 193 feet in length and 32 feet in width. It boasts a cargo-carrying capacity of two 20-foot containers and four 40-foot containers, but these containers are typically equipped with some additional systems as well as sensors essential to the operation. It boasts Lockheed Martin’s advanced Aegis combat system and can link with other Aegis vessels in the same fleet. Until now, it has executed the test firings of SM-6 interceptor missiles.

A Baird Maritime report published last year on 30 November highlighted that both the Ranger and Mariner have a design that was originally developed for fast crew transfer and supply duties to support clients working in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Modifications on these boats include satellite communications, three radars of various bands, electro-optical and infrared sensors, and radios.
Yokosuka, the home port of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, is currently bustling with activities as of 18 September. Besides the Ranger and Mariner, the littoral combat vessel – an Independence-variant (LCS) USS Oakland (LCS 24) made a rate port call at Yokosuka.

The ships’ visit to Yokosuka could be targeted at showcasing the evolving defence cooperation of America and Japan.

The USVs of the U.S. Navy are part of the Ghost Fleet Overlord, a prototyping program introduced in 2018 to integrate multimission unmanned vessels into its fleet. Its sister vessels, Mariner and Ranger, were commissioned by the Navy of the US as part of a Department of Defense assignment to introduce autonomous navigation tech to maritime ships.

The two vessels were built in the association between the US defence tech major Leidos, and the US shipyard called the Gulf Craft.

Mariner boasts a dark blue exterior on the lower half of the hull, and the Ranger possesses a grey hull.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is headquartered in Hawaii. It started its second multi-domain unmanned exercise on 1 May this year. The Fleet’s activity, dubbed the Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem (abbreviated as the UxS IBP) 23.1, is a tactical warfighting rehearsal event carried out by the U.S. 3rd Fleet that is headquartered in San Diego in California for testing and developing fleet-centric concepts as well as capabilities, per the U.S. Navy spokesmen.

References: Eurasian Times, Naval News

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