AIS would have been quite an advantage to the merchant ships: Ability to call the NAVY ship by assumed name “US Warship 1”, or whatever, to make passing arrangements. Having the ship come up early on AIS and the ECDIS with a course no speed vector at perhaps 20 miles would be an advantage. AIS would alert the merchant to look for a small radar signature ship on the radar at a specific location to start an ARPA plot.
I still believe that there are a lot of ships steaming around with only one person on the bridge, that has other duties , I.e. “paperwork”, and that they are over reliant on AIS, and not keeping a sharp visual and radar watch.
The Navy should now have the message loud and clear that there are huge risks to steaming through crowded waters without experienced watch officers, operational AIS Transponders, and being adequately lit.
It should be obvious that the navigational risks of operating without AIS exceed the security risks of using it.