US and UK Navies Hold Joint Drone Exercises In the Arabian Gulf

US and UK Navies Hold Joint Drone Exercises In the Arabian Gulf
US and UK Navies Hold Joint Drone Exercises In the Arabian Gulf

International Military - The United States Navy held a joint drone exercise with Britain on Friday (7/10/2022) in the Arabian Gulf. The US Navy tested the same drone that Iran had seized twice in recent months in the Middle East.

The drills come as the US Navy separately notified commercial shippers in the wider Middle East that it would continue to use drones in the region and warned against interfering with their operations.

"The exercise involved two American and two British warships in the Arabian Gulf, as well as three Saildrone Explorers," said Commodore Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy's 5th Fleet based in the Middle East.

The drone searches for targets at sea, then sends the still images captured by its camera back to the warships and 5th Fleet command center in the island kingdom of Bahrain. There, an artificial intelligence system works through the photos. The 5th Fleet launched Task Force 59 unmanned last year. Drones used by the Navy include ultra-endurance aerial reconnaissance drones, surface ships such as the Sea Hawk and Sea Hunter and smaller underwater drones that resemble torpedoes.

But of particular interest to the Navy is the Saildrone Explorer, a commercially available drone that can stay at sea for long periods of time. That's important for a region that has about 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) of coastline from the Suez Canal, along the Red Sea to the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and into the Arabian Gulf.

This is a vast area that spans the reach of the Navy and its allies and has seen a series of attacks amid the collapse of the atomic treaty. It also remains important for global shipping and energy supplies, as one-fifth of all traded oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

"No matter what power you have, you can't cover it all up," Hawkins told The Associated Press. “You have to do it in a partnered and innovative way,” he continued.

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