(Wired) Killer robots have officially gone out to sea. For the first time, the Navy has fired missiles from a remote-controlled boat.
The firing came as part of a test off the Maryland coast on Wednesday. Six of Rafael's anti-armor Spike missiles got fired off a moving inflatable hulled watercraft, aiming for a floating target about two miles away. The missile firings and the boat's controls were all handled remotely by Navy personnel on shore at the Navy's Patuxent River base.
It's the "first significant step forward in weaponizing surface unmanned combat capability," Mark Moses, the Navy's program manager for the armed drone boat project, tells Danger Room. Sure, the U.S. military has no shortage of armed robotic planes and — soon — helicopters. But it doesn't have weaponized drones that patrol the seas, either above it or below it. The Navy's early experiments with robotic submarines are for spying and mine clearance, not for attack. Until this week's tests at Pax River, the Navy didn't have a robotic surface vessel capable of firing a weapon — the fulfillment of a goal the Navy set for itself in 2007.
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