Only 88 pounds and 4 feet long, the unmanned, remotely guided submersibles carry a TV camera, homing sonar and an explosive charge for what amounts to a kamikaze mission: When it detects a mine, the undersea craft obliterates itself as well as the mine.

The Navy bought dozens of the little-known German-made devices, known as the SeaFox, in February after an urgent request by Marine Gen. James Mattis, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, for more minesweeping capabilities in the region, officials said…

Reopening the strait could take the Navy and its allies five to 10 days, officials said. But experts say even a temporary disruption of tanker traffic could cause global oil prices to soar and spark widespread economic turmoil…

The device is controlled by a 3,000-foot fiber-optic cable and sends live video back to a camera operator at a console. It operates up to 984 feet deep and travels at a speed of up to 6 knots.