Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) returned to Naval Base San Diego Dec. 12 after leading a manned-unmanned team and integrating with Marine Corps aviation assets during exercise Steel Knight 23.

Jackson’s participation in the 1st Marine Division-led exercise provided the joint force with expanded maritime capabilities by accessing critical operating areas that shape actions across the range of military operations to resolve conflict, conduct humanitarian assistance or combat the adversary.

“Jackson is pushing the tactical envelope through simultaneous control of multiple manned and unmanned air and surface vessels,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Winslow, Jackson Gold crew’s commanding officer. “Combined with the installed Naval Strike Missile, Jackson’s operations with the Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel, MQ-8C Fire Scout, and MH-60S Sea Hawk significantly enhanced Jackson’s ability to conduct persistent, over-the-horizon search and destroy missions.”

The flexible design and dynamic maneuvering capabilities of Independence-variant LCS like Jackson gives the Navy-Marine Corps team an asymmetric advantage over adversaries in a maritime environment.