More than 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Persian Gulf waters: CENTCOM

A US-led task force will deploy more than 100 unmanned vessels in strategic waters of the Persian Gulf region by next year to prevent maritime threats, the head of US Central Command said on Saturday.

Announcement general Mikhail Kurila at the annual Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain came after Israel and the US accused Iran of a drone off the coast of Oman crashed into a tanker owned by an Israeli firm this week.

The attack coincided with the reinforcement tensions between Tehran and Washingtonwas the latest in a series of disruptions in the waters of the Persian Gulf, a key route for global energy supplies.

“By this time next year, Task Force 59 will have assembled a fleet of more than 100 unmanned surface and underwater vessels that will operate together, communicate and provide maritime domain awareness,” the CENTCOM chief said.

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

While aerial and underwater drones are fairly well developed, unmanned surface boats are an emerging technology that is critical to future security, according to the Fifth Fleet.

In addition to unmanned vessels, the U.S. is “building an experimental program here in the Middle East to defeat enemy drones with our partners,” Kurillo said, without elaborating.

The head of CENTCOM called the development of “enemy drones” the main technological threat to regional security. More than 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Persian Gulf waters: CENTCOM

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