Speaking from UAE, US Navy commander hints Israeli drones could soon by deployed to Gulf waters

Speaking from UAE, US Navy commander hints Israeli drones could soon by deployed to Gulf waters
Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the US Navy Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain, confirmed that the US is considering employing unmanned Israeli vessels in its international Gulf operations.
2 min read
24 February, 2022
The US Navy is considering using Israeli drones in its Gulf operations [Getty]

The US is considering deploying unmanned Israeli vessels in Washington-led operations in the Gulf, the US Navy Fifth Fleet commander told CNN on Wednesday.

CNN Connect host Becky Anderson asked Vice Admiral Brad Cooper if Washington was considering adding unmanned Israeli boats to its joint Middle East naval operations.

"Yes, I think it’s better said we look to work with the Israelis on a bilateral and multilateral basis using the equipment that they have today," Cooper responded.

"Their unmanned systems and our unmanned systems, just like we do with our cruise ships, where we have exercises with their cruise ships and ours, and we do it on a multilateral basis."

Cooper's comments follow remarks he made to The Associated Press during a defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The US navy and its security partners will patrol the Gulf next year with 100 unmanned sea drones, Cooper had said.

The vessels, to be placed both above and below the waters' surface, will increase his fleet's monitoring capabilities, he said.

The drones will be placed in case of "potential Iranian threats" to the flow of global oil shipping in the Gulf, reported the US weekly The Jewish Press.

He claimed that unmanned systems are "highly reliable" as they enable them to "see more without the human factor."

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Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Fifth Fleet at its base in Bahrain, where it was first revealed that Washington was interested in adding unmanned boats to the fleet.

Earlier this month, an Israeli navy officer became the first to be positioned under a new security pact between Israel and Bahrain, following an agreement by Defence Minister Benny Gantz during his first visit to the Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in September 2020, drawing condemnation from Palestinians.

The UAE-led normalisation drive has been seen as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and to further entrench autocracy in the region.