The Israel Navy has announced the successful completion of the experimental phase of a new, unmanned vessel called the ‘Sea Knight.’
The vessel, an upgrade of a similar but older, smaller vessel called the ‘Protector,’ (both manufactured by defense contractor Rafael), is able to patrol for 12 hours straight and can reach a speed of up to 40 knots, about 40 miles per hour.
Most of the time remotely controlled from a mobile caravan at Ashdod base, the vessel can also be operated by a ship at sea during special operations. It is fitted with remote-controlled machine guns and water cannons that can be used to fight approaching attackers.
But for the first time, this vessel also has the ability to fire missiles as well.
Although it is technically still in development, the Sea Knight — part of a system to intercept anti-tank missiles launched from the coast at routine service vessels — was put into action two years ago.
The IDF expects to eventually complete a naval unit with a total of four of the vessels which can then be used to patrol the Gaza coastline remotely, and to help defend southern Israel in time of war.
The Islamic State (Da’esh / ISIS) terrorist organization has raised its profile in Hamas-ruled Gaza, escalating the chances of eventual war in the southern part of the region.