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03/11/23: US Navy drone boats seen firing off in the Middle East

The unmanned watercraft fired off missiles in the Middle East for the first time since their deployment.

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The United States Navy has deployed unmanned drone boats to the Middle East, with reports emerging that the crafts have fired off missiles against simulated targets.

Business Insider is reporting that the boats were deployed to the region as an exercise, but ultimately, it marked the first time that such crafts used "lethal munitions."

"During the October 23 exercise — dubbed "Digital Talon" — a Navy task force paired the remotely operated drones with crewed ships to identify and engage simulated hostile forces within international waters around the Arabian Peninsula," read a statement released by the Navy.

The boat, known as the MARTAC T38 Devil Ray USV, reportedly hit the targets every single time they deployed a missile — and there wasn't a human around to pilot the boat.

According to the same statement by the US Navy, the exercise was designed to improve the lethality of the unmanned crafts.

The added benefit, of course, is that such drone boats don't require human piloting, which will reduce the number of fatalities in real-life wartime situations.

"We are focused on the operational application of new, cutting-edge unmanned systems and artificial intelligence technologies," said NAVCENT commander Brad Cooper in the statement.

"During Digital Talon, we took a significant step forward and advanced our capability to the 'next level' beyond just maritime domain awareness."

Prior to this exercise, the drone boats were sent to Iran to track and monitor two of the country's similar vessels.

The boats were sent to the Strait of Hormuz, which is considered the home of one of the world's largest oil reserves, and where the United States has classified as a hotbed for "malign activity," which the drone boats are hoping to neutralize."

Beyond drone boats, the Pentagon has taken other measures in recent months to boost deterrence in the region like dispatching an assortment of fighter jets and warships to the area," reports Business Insider.

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