The Navy has in recent years expanded its use of unmanned, underwater vehicles, colloquially known as drones.

And now, the sea service has taken its next step in embracing the rapidly growing technology with the standing up of its first underwater drone squadron.

Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1, or UUVRON 1, was formally established Sept. 26 during a ceremony at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Washington state.

“Standing up UUVRON 1 shows our Navy’s commitment to the future of unmanned systems and undersea combat,” Capt. Robert Gaucher, recently departed head of Submarine Development Squadron 5, said in a statement.

The squadron’s mission will be to sustain undersea advantages and extend the reach of the military.

When launched from surface ships or submarines, the vehicles can perform mine clearance, ocean floor mapping or reconnaissance, among other missions.

“In addition to providing a rapid, potentially lower cost solution to a variety of mission sets, UUVs can mitigate operations that pose increased risk to manned platforms,” Submarine Force Pacific spokesman Cmdr. Corey Barker said in an email.

Things are still in the early stages, but the new squadron will eventually operate and maintain all classes of fleet underwater drones, from micro to extra-large vehicles, squadron executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Steve Boatwright said in a statement.

In addition to overseeing currently existing underwater drones, the squadron will test future vehicles.