As predicted, it is open season on unmanned vehicles. The US has set the precedent that unmanned assets are not worth fighting over and that we’ll sit back and allow them to be seized if a strongly worded protest won’t stop the act of piracy/war. That precedent guarantees open season on unmanned assets. To whit,
The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy attempted to capture a U.S. Navy unmanned surface vessel that was operating in the Arabian Gulf on Monday and Tuesday, U.S. 5th Fleet said in a statement.
U.S. 5th Fleet spotted IRGCN support ship Shahid Baziar towing the USV around … 
A warship is a piece of sovereign US territory and to seize one is to commit an act of war. I would assume that an unmanned warship also constitutes a piece of sovereign US territory although that is a question I leave to legal experts on international law (here’s an excellent examination of sovereign status of ships).
Iran committed an act of war or, at the very least, an act of piracy. I fail to understand why we don’t simply sink the Iranian ship. Doing that every time would put a quick end to such attempts. Our default position of abject appeasement is how you become a second rate nation.
|Iranian Vessel Towing US Unmanned Craft (circled in red)|
Apologists and pacifists may claim that it’s not worth going to war over a small unmanned boat (as if Iran is going to declare war on us over a failed act of piracy on their part) but what happens when the Navy starts deploying medium and large unmanned vessels that carry classified sensors and weapons? Are we going to stand idly by while foreign countries seize them? Precedent would suggest that’s exactly what we’ll do. Heck, we did nothing when Iran seized two manned riverine boats and their crews so why would anyone think we’ll do anything about an unmanned vessel, no matter how large it is?
It is embarrassing to witness the level of timidity we’ve sunk to.
USNI News website, “VIDEO: Navy Blocks Iranian Attempt to Steal U.S. Surface Drone in Persian Gulf”, Heather Mongilio, 30-Aug-2022,