US Tests Kamikaze Drone-Boats

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The U.S. Navy’s Task Force 59 began a series of tests in the Middle East showcasing the integration of advanced unmanned systems and AI technologies into maritime operations.
Task Force 59 specializes in merging various unmanned vessels to support large-scale operations, and their partnership with international military allies emphasizes a focus on USVs and AI technologies, aiming for future expansion and the creation of a “digital ocean” where data from various sources provides consistent maritime monitoring.
According to Interesting Engineering, one of the most striking demonstrations of Task Force 59’s capabilities involved the successful testing of the T-38 Devil Ray USV that was armed with Switchblade 300 loitering munitions.
Switchblade 300, nicknamed “kamikaze drone” and officially known as the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS), is a small loitering munition with a four-pound high-explosive warhead that is capable of engaging targets autonomously with the option for human intervention. The drone has a range of up to 10 kilometers and is equipped with a camera through which operators can maintain visual contact until impact, which provides versatility in targeting moving threats.
The T-38 Devil Ray is a 11.5-meter uncrewed speed boat developed by Maritime Tactical Systems and is able to travel at speeds of up to 80 knots and carry payloads of up to 2,050 kg. It is presented by the Navy as a proof of concept with various potential applications (like defense against swarms of small boats).
The potential combination of these unmanned speed boats with Switchblade 300s could protect ships and critical infrastructure from explosive-laden boats. This, combined with the ability to ferry payload and quickly respond and precisely engage with targets, is what makes them so invaluable.
The recent testing of uncrewed boats and munitions demonstrates the Navy’s ongoing commitment to incorporate advanced technology in various operational contexts.