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NEWS | April 4, 2023

Department of the Navy Hosts Unmanned Systems Industry Day

By PEO USC Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – On behalf of the Department of the Navy, the Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) hosted an Unmanned Systems Industry Day event on March 1-3 with Navy, Marine Corps, and other partners. The event featured over 18 hours of presentations, including in-person presentations in Virginia and virtual ones provided from Bahrain, Italy, Maryland, and Rhode Island.

The three-day event brought together more than two dozen government organizations and 430 companies to discuss critical advanced system development areas, including unmanned surface vessels, unmanned undersea vessels, unmanned deployable mobile ocean systems, unmanned deployable fixed ocean systems, and autonomous unmanned aircraft systems. Over 49% of the registered industry partners represented small businesses.

Total attendance for the event peaked at 534 combined in-person and virtual attendees. “It was a truly hybrid event,” said David Kelley, principal assistant program manager for acquisition for the Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office (PMS 406), which coordinated the event. “We’ve hosted a variety of industry days in the past, but nothing quite like this. Hundreds of companies are joining us in person and online with the chance to interact with representatives from a wide breadth of Navy unmanned topics.”

Mr. Kelley also highlighted the opportunity for program offices and industry partners, whose worlds might not typically overlap, to connect with each other. “We hope that an unmanned aircraft technology provider might hear of capability gaps in unmanned surface vessels and think – we might be able to help solve that problem with our solutions,” he said.

Event briefers included representatives from PEO USC, PEO Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (U&W), PEO Undersea Warfare Systems (UWS), the Navy’s Unmanned Task Force (UTF), Task Force 59 (TF-59), U.S. Marine Corps, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative Innovation and Coordination Cell (MUSIC^2) as well as OPNAV N95 Expeditionary Warfare, N96 Surface Warfare, N97 Undersea Warfare, N98 Air Warfare, and N2N6E Oceanography and Navigation.

In the event’s opening remarks, Rear Adm. Casey Moton, Program Executive Officer, Unmanned and Small Combatants, reinforced the importance of frequent and open conversation with industry, and particularly so regarding the transformative domain of unmanned maritime systems, stressing that such systems represent “an entirely new class of Navy weapons systems, whose rapid development is being powered by technological change, a sense of urgency driven by adversary threats, and rapidly adapting Fleet requirements, and so demanding the need to expand the unmanned industrial base.”

The event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from industry and government attendees. As a result, future Navy Industry days may follow a similar format.

Under the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated that the Navy and other military services hold Industry Days every 180 days to increase private sector awareness of critical advanced system development areas and associated capability requirements.