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US 5th Fleet arms USV with loitering munitions

An LMAMS is launched from a T38 Devil Ray USV during Exercise ‘Digital Talon' on 23 October. (US Navy)

The US 5th Fleet's Task Force 59 has fitted an unmanned surface vessel (USV) with the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS), the fleet revealed on 2 November.

The fleet released a statement saying Task Force 59, which was formed to pioneer unmanned and artificial intelligence capabilities in the Middle East, fired LMAMS loitering munitions from a Martac T38 Devil Ray USV multiple times during Exercise ‘Digital Talon' in the Gulf on 23 October.

A human operator ashore at the task force's Robotics Operations Centre made the engagement decisions for the firings, which all successfully hit a simulated enemy target.

“During ‘Digital Talon', we took a significant step forward and advanced our capability to the next level beyond just maritime domain awareness, which has been a traditional focus with Task Force 59,” the statement quoted 5th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper as saying. “We have proven these unmanned platforms can enhance fleet lethality. In doing so, we are strengthening regional maritime security and enhancing deterrence against malign activity.”

Vice Adm Cooper added that he expects the arsenal of combat-capable unmanned platforms to be expanded in future exercises.

The fleet released a video showing a box launcher carried by a T38 launching a munition and the feed from its camera being used to guide it towards a stationary floating target, which was shown being hit.

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