By David Daoud
Israel has introduced a new sea vessel, the “Sea Knight,” an unmanned seaborne craft that it intends to use to prevent dangerous weapon smuggling into Gaza by sea.
Eight months after Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian terror groups are escalating attempts to smuggle weapons into the Strip by sea. In response, Israel’s navy has stepped up its patrols of the coastal enclave, and introduced the Sea Knight to combat the problem.
Lt. Col. Liav, the commander of the southern detachment of Dabur patrol boats said of the Sea Knight that it is, “a vessel which can shoot, issue warnings, squirt water, conduct the most advanced types of surveillance, and all the while sailing without a human operator.”
The Sea Knight is controlled by an operator on the beach, or on another vessel, and has even been used to search for divers trying to infiltrate Israel.
Just last month, the navy was able to foil an attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza from Egypt by sea. The soldiers took control of the Palestinian fishing boat and arrested three smugglers. But a situation like that carries inherent dangers, requiring vessels to approach the suspicious boat. And this is where the Sea Knight comes in handy. Major Shlomi, a commander of a Sea Knight unit said, “think of it as a scout that collects information and can also respond [with force] if needed,” thus reducing the risk to soldiers’ lives.
The possibility of using the Sea Knight in other arenas is also being considered now, especially due to the fact that Hezbollah has begun upgrading its maritime capabilities.
Watch a video of the Sea Knight in action HERE.