While the US Air Force's drones have been firing all sorts of air-to-surface missiles and bombs for roughly a decade now, the Navy took a big step toward getting in on the action last week when it launched six Israeli-made Spike missiles from an unmanned 36-foot motorboat.
The Navy pretty much admits that the project — called the unmanned surface vehicle precision engagement module (USV PEM) — is aimed at defeating threats that are straight out of Iran's war plans for the Persian Gulf region.
"The USV PEM project was developed in response to recent world events which have increased the concern over swarms of small attack craft, as well as threat assessments outlined in recent studies conducted by the Naval Warfare Development Command," said NAVSEA Naval Special Warfare Assistant Program Manager Mark Moses in a press release.
"The study punctuates the effectiveness of these swarm attacks against both military re-supply ships and naval vessels. Technology demonstrated in this project can provide a capability to combat terrorists who use small low-cost vehicles as weapons platforms."