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Navy arms sea drones for ocean attack

Armed surface drones at sea could surveil and attack enemy targets, conduct forward reconnaissance on enemy positions and provide human decision-makers with combat essential command and control data -- all as part of massive, great power war on the open seas.

Maritime drones can have both offensive and defensive uses, all while keeping sailors and surface ships at safer standoff ranges. Navy strategies see them operating in coordinated groups of drone boats networking vital war information between surface, air and even undersea regions across wide-spanning segments of ocean. Such missions are fast being increasingly enabled by advances in autonomy, fortified by computer algorithms performing a growing number of procedural functions historically done by humans. Of course, developers are quick to emphasize that, regardless of advances in autonomy, current doctrine requires that human decision-makers remain "in the loop" when it comes to making decisions about attacking with lethal force.

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