A Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel is seen in the Arabian Gulf off Bahrain’s coast on January 27. The US Naval Forces Central Command began operationally testing the vessel as part of an initiative to integrate new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into US 5th Fleet operations. Photo: US Central Command/ AFP
A Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel is seen in the Arabian Gulf off Bahrain’s coast on January 27. The US Naval Forces Central Command began operationally testing the vessel as part of an initiative to integrate new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into US 5th Fleet operations. Photo: US Central Command/ AFP
Mark J. Valencia
Opinion

Opinion

Mark J. Valencia

US-Iran sea drone dispute highlights vast scope for conflict over unmanned vessels

  • The US says Iran was trying to capture the unmanned surface vessel, while Tehran claims it was trying to ensure safety of navigation
  • With the US updating its commander’s handbook to categorise such unmanned vessels as warships, there are likely to be more similar incidents in the Gulf and elsewhere

A Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel is seen in the Arabian Gulf off Bahrain’s coast on January 27. The US Naval Forces Central Command began operationally testing the vessel as part of an initiative to integrate new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into US 5th Fleet operations. Photo: US Central Command/ AFP
A Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel is seen in the Arabian Gulf off Bahrain’s coast on January 27. The US Naval Forces Central Command began operationally testing the vessel as part of an initiative to integrate new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into US 5th Fleet operations. Photo: US Central Command/ AFP
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