Advances in unmanned military tools and vehicles have come on leaps and bounds, but, until now, we haven’t seen a weapon firing drone operating in the seas. A recent test taking part offshore near Maryland saw several missiles launched from a new remote-controlled inflatable-hulled ship. While the Navy has used drones before for mine clearing and other defensive tasks, the small boat (similar to that pictured above) is the first experiment to involve true offensive capabilities. The almost zodiac-like craft has been an ongoing project over recent years, and contains a fully automated system which the Navy calls a “Precision Engagement Module” which uses an Mk-49 mounting with a dual missile launcher manufactured by Rafael. The hope is that such vehicles could patrol the coastline, or serve as a first defense against pirates, and other such small, fast-moving seafaring dangers.
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US Navy tests first 11-meter missile-firing sea drone (video)