In an era where the future of military operations is increasingly intertwined with technology and innovation, the United States Navy’s Task Force 59 (TF59) has emerged as a trailblazer, revolutionizing naval operations by embracing a hybrid manned-unmanned fleet.

Two years since its inception, TF59 has marked significant milestones and set a precedent for innovation and experimentation that is now spreading to other naval commands.

A Startup Mentality in the Navy

“We have a kind of a startup mentality here,” stated Captain Colin Corridan, the commander of Task Force 59, during an interview with Defense One.

This innovative approach creates an environment where ideas flourish, and innovation takes center stage. Capt. Corridan emphasized the importance of soliciting ideas from every level of the organization, fostering a culture where innovation is paramount.

Task Force 59 reached full operational capability in January, marking its second anniversary in the previous month. During this period, TF59 has put approximately 15 types of drones through a rigorous testing regime, accumulating an impressive total of 55,000 operating hours.

These unmanned systems have not remained confined to the drawing board, as TF59 participated in more than 30 multilateral and bilateral at-sea exercises and six operational deployments in the challenging Arabian Peninsula region.

One of the latest achievements to grab headlines was a “complex operation” involving sea crews working in collaboration with unmanned surface, subsurface, and aerial vehicles in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically vital waterway. This operation, according to the 5th Fleet’s commander, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, showcased the effectiveness of the “manned-unmanned teaming” concept to which TF59 has been dedicated.