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Israel is taking part in a massive naval exercise underway in the Middle East, which incorporates unmanned vehicles and artificial intelligence to test out ways to improve maritime awareness across a large geographic area.

The 18-day naval exercise involves 9,000 people and 50 ships from 60 nations, according to the US Navy. Its operations are taking place in the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea, and the North Indian Sea.

“The Israel Navy will join 60 naval fleets for the US Navy-led ‘IMX’ International Naval Exercise,” the IDF said. “For the first time, our Flotilla 3 & Underwater Warfare Unit will train with the US Fifth Fleet in the Red Sea. We look forward to strengthening security & global cooperation.”

The exercise involves 80 air, surface, and underwater unmanned systems from the United States and nine other nations.

This year, Fifth Fleet combined its International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022 with 6th Fleet’s Cutlass Express exercise to increase cooperation between the fleets and develop relationships between other participants.

14 scenarios are designed to reveal how unmanned systems and AI can be used in real-world operations in the region’s maritime environment. 

One of the problems with monitoring a vast region is sorting through the correspondingly vast amounts of photos, video, and data. Artificial intelligence promises to make it easier to spot and share useful information. 

Among the U.S. systems are the Saildrone Explorer, the Mantas T-12, and the Switchblade 300. These are controlled locally and underway from several maritime operations centers, and from a robotics operations center, as reported by defenseone.com.