News ID: 325475
Published: 0316 GMT November 19, 2022

Over 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Persian Gulf: CENTCOM

Over 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Persian Gulf: CENTCOM

This handout image released by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) shows a view of a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel (USV) in the Persian Gulf off Bahrain’s coast on January 27, 2022.

International Desk

A US-led task force will deploy over 100 unmanned vessels in the Persian Gulf region’s strategic waters by next year to stave off what it called maritime threats, the US Central Command chief said Saturday.

The announcement by General Michael Kurilla at the annual Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain came after a drone attack on an oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned firm off the coast of Oman this week.

The attack was the latest in a string of disruptions in Persian Gulf waters that are a key route for world energy supplies.

“By this time next year, Task Force 59 will bring together a fleet of over 100 unmanned surface and subsurface vessels operating together, communicating together and providing maritime domain awareness,” the CENTCOM chief said.

Launched in September 2021, Task Force 59 was created in Bahrain, home to the US navy’s Fifth Fleet, to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into Middle East operations following a series of drone attacks.

While airborne and subsea unmanned vessels are quite well developed, unmanned surface boats are a new technology that are essential for security in the future, according to the Fifth Fleet.

In addition to the unmanned vessels, the US is “building an experimentation program here in the Middle East to beat adversary drones with our partners,” Kurilla said without elaborating.

The CENTCOM chief called the development of “adversary drones” the greatest technological threat to regional security.




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