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The US Navy has launched its first ever dedicated underwater drone squadron. The Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron (UUVRON) 1 replaced a smaller detachment that had been part of Submarine Development Squadron Five (DEVRON 5).

According to thedrive.com, the Navy planned for UUVRON 1 to reach its full operational capability in 2020. Another possibility is that UUVRON 1 will continue to focus on research and development and test evaluation, while the Navy works to establish operational unmanned undersea units. It could be those organizations that the service expects to be ready to go by 2020.

The previous unit DEVRON 5 is charged with multiple submarine warfare mission areas to include submarine rescue operations and the activities of its three Seawolf-class submarines. The unit is responsible for developing and testing new submarine warfare capabilities, including the use of unmanned undersea vehicles, according to navy.mil.

According to defenseworld.net, DEVRON 5 received its first underwater drone, a torpedo shaped vehicle known as a Large Training Vehicle 38, in August 2014. Devron 5 supported

the development and launch of the Navy’s first unmanned undersea vehicle squadron, oversaw the successful deployments of the Seawolf-class fast attack submarines USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), and provided immediate superior in charge-level oversight of all three Seawolf-class submarines during major shipyard maintenance periods.

U.S. Navy Captain Robert Gaucher, the outgoing head of DEVRON 5 said: “Today we are transitioning our UUV detachment into the first UUV squadron. Why is this historical? It’s because in standing up UUVRON 1, it shows our Navy’s commitment to the future of unmanned systems and undersea combat”.