In late May 2021, the Israeli armed forces destroyed an armed underwater uninhabited vehicle (UUV) operated by the terrorist group Hamas. This kamikaze-UUV was used in an attempt to attack Israeli offshore gas and oil installations, which Hamas had unsuccessfully targeted in the past using rockets and uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs).
This is possibly the first use of an armed UUV by a non-state actor, but UUVs have been in use since the 1950s, with the United States and Russia leading the charge. UUVs are now owned by over fifty nations across the world. Understanding why and how this technology proliferates is crucial to recognizing the role of such new technologies in international security and preparing effective responses.
Based on this common understanding, the international community can counter further UUV proliferation by establishing a framework of norms and agreements, while security forces and military industries can focus on advancing effective counter-UUV technology.
Source: The Maritime Executive