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Naval Drone Makes Debut by Blowing Up Floating Target

Written by on Monday, October 29th, 2012

The Navy has been tinkering with drone technology for some time now. The Air Force is having so much success with its drones, why not apply the same principle to the open ocean? We’ve seen some of the early experimentation in aquatic drone technology, but today all of that testing is paying off.

As a true first, the US Navy successfully launched a missile from a drone boat. The Navy recorded the feat and made the video public.

They look like misses, don’t they? The Navy claims that the missile were all direct hits; it’s just that the explosion pattern creates an optical trick with the nearby waves. The missiles were launched a distance of about two miles toward a floating target. Navy personnel that monitored the test from the nearby shore aimed and fired the missiles.

In the past, aquatic drone technology has gravitated more towards a support role. They have either been built for surveillance or to take out enemy mines. This combat-ready drone takes a much more direct approach with its anti-armor spike missiles.

That’s basically where the similarities between this remote-controlled watercraft and Predator drones end, though. The Navy is calling it a Precision Engagement Module (PEM). Unlike drones, which fly out from generic cialis online base, perform a task, and then return to base, watercraft like the PEM will probably be attached to a mothership.

These small watercraft just won’t have enough power to sail the seas for long periods of time, but they will be small and fast enough to keep up with ships that are too maneuverable for US destroyers. In fact, PEM watercraft might act as a direct counter to any of the suicide watercraft that will make a bee-line for US ships trying to enter the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran.


Mark Moses, the PEM program manager, said that the PEM “could be used in a number of applications including harbor security, defensive operations against fast attach craft and swam scenarios, which is of primary concern for the Navy. However, it is probably most effective when targets try and hide among commercial vessels –for example, congested waterways.”

Even though PEMs and drones are slated for very different roles, the Navy should still be able to benefit from the USAF’s considerable expertise in the world of unmanned drone technology. Alternatively, they could hire military consulting firms for a much more in-depth and innovative approach to this new world of drone watercraft.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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