US Plans Launch of New Mideast Drone Force

The Navtec, Incorporated Owl MKII Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) glides stealthly through the waters of Mile Hammock Bay, New River during a demonstration to highlight it's marine reconnaissance capabilities to the Riverine Insertion Operation Exercise (RIOEX) '98 participants. The Owl MKII is funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and is remote-controlled from a small shoreline control station by Brad Dowling, a Navtec, Inc. electronics engineer, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the Riverine Insertion Operation Exercise (RIOEX) '98.

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The US Navy and its security allies will launch a new joint drone fleet in the Middle East next year, according to the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, to better prepare for future strikes like those carried out by Iran in the region in recent years. A total of 100 drones are planned to participate in the event. A fleet of artificial intelligence-based unmanned aerial aircraft will be operating with allied nations by 2023.

The US Fifth Fleet is stationed in the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Gulf of Oman to the Persian Gulf and passes through 20% of the world’s oil. It has jurisdiction over the Red Sea around the Suez Canal and the Bab al-Mandab Strait in Yemen.

Conflicts in the area between US forces and Iran have been worse in recent years, peaking in 2019 when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and put harsh sanctions on the country. Since then, there have been other reports of Iranian personnel seizing oil tankers and suspected explosions causing damage to numerous boats in the vicinity, including those related to Israeli and Western corporations.

According to ABS news, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the United States Fifth Fleet, said at a security conference in Abu Dhabi that these new systems are able to see better on the ground and remove the human factor thanks to the use of computerized defense systems that do not require human involvement, so these systems are the only way to bridge the gaps that we have today in the field, and they are fundamentally defense-oriented.

Although full diplomatic relations between Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel were only established in 2020, military cooperation between the two countries is growing: earlier this month, Israel participated in a naval exercise led by the US Navy for the first time, alongside Saudi Arabia and other countries. According to Cooper, Israel is likely to play an active and major role in the US Navy’s unmanned task force’s actions in the region in the future years.