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07/11/23: MARTAC Devil Ray T-38 USV Tests Boat Swarm Defense using Aerovironment Switchblade Kamikaz

Tests involving a Switchblade-armed MARTAC Devil Ray T38 uncrewed surface vessel (USV) took place in the Persian Gulf in late October.



A U.S. Navy drone speedboat armed with Switchblade 300 loitering munitions was able to successfully destroy multiple mock targets at sea. The Aerovironment Switchblade is a small loitering munition often referred to as a kamikaze drone. It has a 4-pound high-explosive warhead, a maximum range of 10 kilometers (6+ miles) and can fly for around 15 minutes. A combination like this could provide close-in protection against swarms of small crewed and uncrewed boats. As reported by Thedrive.com, this was part of a large exercise nicknamed Digital Talon, led by the Navy's Task Force 59. Established in 2021, Task Force 59 is a testbed unit that is tasked with experimenting with the integration of new uncrewed and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into day-to-day naval operations across the Middle East. It also offers the Navy a means to explore how it might operationalize those technologies more broadly.


Special Operations Forces Central Command, the U.S. military's top special operations command in the Middle East, also helped coordinate this test. The Switchblade 300 has been in active use by American special operators for years now. For this particular test, the T38 was equipped with a small, portable six-round launcher loaded with Switchblade 300s, which the U.S. military officially calls the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS). Watch a video, here.



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