The Nigerian navy has recently acquired two SwiftSea Stalker unmanned surface vessels (USVs) from Swiftship, a US-based shipbuilder. The USVs are expected to enhance the navy’s maritime security and surveillance capabilities.
The two USVs were formally handed over to President Bola Tinubu by the Minister of State for Defence, Mohammed Bello Matawalle, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The minister said that the USVs would help in the fight against insecurity on the waterways and the nation in general.
USVs are boats or ships that operate on the surface of the water without a crew. They can be remotely controlled or fully autonomous, depending on the level of technology and the mission requirements. USVs can perform various tasks such as reconnaissance, patrol, mine detection, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-piracy operations.
The SwiftSea Stalkers are the latest innovative USVs by Swiftship, which has been designing and manufacturing highly specialized military surface vessels for over 80 years. The SwiftSea Stalkers have a speed of 45+ knots, a range of 400 nautical miles, and an endurance of 40 hours. They also have multi-modal situational awareness, threat-based object recognition, tracking, anti-collision capabilities, and data connectivity.
The acquisition of the USVs is part of Nigeria’s efforts to boost its defence industry and collaborate with leading US military firms. The minister revealed that he had visited NEANY, Swift Ships, and OCR Global, hi-tech military hardware producing companies in the US, and discussed the possibility of establishing advanced weapons production lines at the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
The minister also said that the USVs would be deployed in the Niger Delta, Lake Chad Region, and other maritime regions of the country, where insecurity and criminal activities are rampant. He added that the USVs would complement the existing naval assets and personnel in safeguarding the nation’s territorial waters and economic interests.
The Nigerian navy is also embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies to enhance its operational activities. The navy is undergoing a transformative journey by integrating AI into its operational framework. This strategic initiative aims to elevate the navy’s capabilities and bolster its competitive edge on the seas.
By adopting these technological advancements, the navy is poised to adapt to the evolving challenges of the seas and maintain its commitment to security and stability in the region.