How to Build and Operate a 500-Ship U.S. Navy

By Lt. Cmdr. U.H. (Jack) Rowley, USN (Ret.)


In an address at the 2022 AFCEA/US Naval Institute “West” conference, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday revealed the Navy’s goal to reach 500 ships by adding approximately 150 unmanned maritime vehicles to the Navy’s inventory. This plan added additional detail to the Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Framework.

Most recently, previous speeches and interviews alluding to the number of unmanned surface vehicles the Navy intends to field culminated in the issuance of the Chief of Naval Operations NAVPLAN 2022 and Force Design 2045, both of which call for 350 manned ships and 150 large unmanned maritime vehicles. These official Navy documents provide the clearest indication yet of the Navy’s plans for a future fleet populated by large numbers of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).