Kurella was speaking after Israel and the United States accused Iran this week of what he described as a drone attack on an oil tanker operated by a company owned by an Israeli businessman that was transporting fuel from Oman.
The attack is the latest in a string of incidents in the oil-rich region amid rising tensions between bitter rivals Washington and Tehran that have also caused incidents between their navies.
“TO quest”Now next year, Force-59 will deploy a fleet of more than 100 unmanned surface and subsurface vessels, working and communicating together,” Kurella said at the Manama Dialogue annual conference.
The Force-59 was launched in September 2021 in Bahrain, headquarters of the Fifth Fleet, with the aim of integrating unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into operations in Middle East after a series of drone attacks on ships attributed to Iran.
In addition to unmanned vessels, the United States is “building a pilot program here in Middle East to defeat drones with our partners,” Kurella said, without giving further details.
“As drone technology advances, the (development of) drones by our enemies may be the greatest technological threat to regional security,” the US general added.