The US Special Forces recently conducted bilateral drills with the Swedish armed forces which included the deployment and recovery of an unmanned underwater vehicle by the US to enhance the maritime capability in the region.
“The US forces are incredibly honored that our Swedish Special Operations Command partners invited us to stage and exercise with them here in Sweden. Our partners are highly capable professional operators, and we look forward to our continued collaboration throughout the Baltic Sea region,” said Joint Special Operations Task Force deputy commander of the exercise, Lt. Col. Houston Hodgkinson.
According to the Swedish Defence Ministry, the exercise conducted was one of the most complex maneuvers staged between the two countries and would span air, land and sea domains to strengthen its capabilities in the Baltic Sea.
According to The Drive, stealthy special operations boats, such as the Navy’s CCMs, would be important tools to support any of those activities, but the use of underwater drones, such as the Ivers, would offer additional, more discreet means of doing so, especially in areas where the exact location and composition of enemy defenders might not be entirely clear.
While it is known what was the exact configuration of the Iver used in the exercise, the website believes it to be an Iver3-series type. They are suitable for coastal applications such as sensor development, general survey work, sub-surface security, research and environmental monitoring.
“This exercise provides the opportunity to train with Special Operation Forces (SOF) partners as well as US and Swedish conventional forces across all warfighting functions and domains. This allows us to train how we will we fight, while also highlighting the credibility and capability of our combined forces,” said Joint Special Operation Forces (JSOTF) commander of the exercise, Col. Nathan Owendoff.
“The additive benefit is the critical value of building trust and strengthening relationships between commanders, element leaders, and special operations forces across multiple echelons.”
Iver3 is approximately 74-85 inches in length and weighs upto 85lb (38.5 Kg). It can reach upto 4 knots of speed and depending on the configuration and can endure eight to 14 hours at speed of 2.5 knots. It uses wireless ethernet for communication through an antenna mast.
The underwater unmanned drones enable the forces to gather information about what lies under the sea without risking the lives of personnel. It can point out the presence of mines and other artificial obstacles created or even large rocks that can hinder navigation for amphibious operations.
According to The Drive, this information gathered using these underwater unmanned vehicles would enable the naval special operators, planning to infiltrate into a particular area, either above the water in small watercraft or below in miniature submarines or using various kinds of personal diving equipment.
OceanServer, a division of L3Harris, the manufacturer of Iver, announced in January this year, that the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) had bought an Iver4 900, an advanced version with improved capabilities including up to 20-hour run times of 40 nautical miles mission duration for long ingress/egress missions.
The purchase included additional sensors, swappable battery chemistries, and data solutions with the prototype system to provide US military forces with a highly capable unmanned underwater vehicle that can detect, classify, localize, and identify targets on the ocean floor and in the water column in support of Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures (ExMCM), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and undersea search operations.
“The Iver4 is the culmination of many years of UUV development, customer feedback and application knowledge for military applications,” said Daryl Slocum, Vice President and General Manager, Unmanned Maritime Systems, L3Harris. “This platform has been custom-built to address the needs of the ExMCM and EOD communities.
With its flexible payload, transportable package, extended endurance and high-performance accuracy, the Iver4 is leading the next generation of small class UUVs. We are honored to receive DIU’s award and look forward to bringing the Iver4 to the warfighter.”