29/10/2012 09:49 GMT | Updated 29/12/2012 10:12 GMT

US Navy Unveils Missile-Equipped Unmanned Sea Drone (VIDEO)

The US military has unveiled a new fleet of unmanned drones - and this time they're floating, not flying.

Drones have been used by militaries around the world for years, both for reconnaissance and in combat.

On the water drones have been used to search for mines and enemy positions. But weaponised sea drones have yet to make their appearance (either below the waves or above them).

That could soon change, after the Navy fired missiles from an inflatable remote-controlled boat for the first time.

The 11-metre craft (unmanned sea vehicle, or USV) is made by Rafael, and fires 30-pound Spike anti-armour missiles. It includes a dual-pod missile launch and an Mk-49 mountain system according to Wired.

It's terrifying official the name is "Precision Engagement Module". Shudder.

The test was made by remote control at the Navy's Patuxent River base, and successfully destroyed a target two miles away.

A manager of the programme said it was "the first significant step forward in weaponizing surface unmanned combat capability".

However the craft is still a long way from being deployed for real. More tests will be needed, and decisions made about whether having robot missile platforms protecting the US coastline - or, for instance, the Strait of Hormuz, is really a good idea.