It looks like the Libyan rebels aren't the only ones relying on jerry-rigged battle tech in the civil war there. Moammar Gadhafi's forces launched a sea-borne UAV of sorts made up of a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) crewed by mannequins and loaded with one ton of plastic explosive.
Apparently, two RHIBs were sailing toward the rebel-held port of Misurata, one crewed by live sailors, the other by two dummies. NATO officials think it was an effort to lure allied maritime forces close to the boat, after which it would be blown up remotely.
Said NATO spokesman Wing Commander Mike Braken:
This can only be interpreted as a crude attempt to get mariners to come close to the RHIB, thinking there might be people in distress only then to set off the explosives with a potentially devastating effect. One ton of explosives is a huge amount, this is nothing less than a floating booby trap meant to kill people or sink ships.He went on to note that this is the third naval action executed by Gadhafi's regime since NATO operations against it began. On April 29, Gadhafi's forces tried to mine Misurata harbor and last week two (manned) RHIBs were intercepted by NATO as they approached the city:
This series of incidents is a serious change of tactics by the pro-Gadhafi forces and clearly demonstrates their intent to use their naval assets and their naval knowledge to bring even more harm to innocent civilians. It also demonstrates that pro-Gadhafi forces have the will and desire to strike NATO vessels.