It’s cruising, at night, in the silky waters of the China Sea. And it only wants to kill you.
That’s the plan for China’s autonomous and deadly robot warship — a 20-ton, 15-meter, JARI USV that is much smaller than the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s manned Type -55 destroyer, but has all the same mission areas: anti-sub, anti-surface and anti-air, Defense News reported.
Developed by Chinese shipbuilder China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company, it is an unmanned surface vessel that China wants to function essentially like the uninhabited baby brother of a US Arleigh Burke destroyer, the report said.
Too small to see, until it’s too late.
A model of the drone was on display at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
The JARI comes equipped with an electro-optical sensor atop a superstructure, a phased array radar, a dipping sonar, eight vertical launch system cells, a torpedo launcher and a forward mounted machine gun and rocket launcher for counter-surface engagements, the report said.
Let’s just say, it’s well equipped to spoil a party.
The US Navy has been increasingly discussing its desire to pursue unmanned technologies to fight on the surface and subsurface, employing a network of sensor and shooter drones to penetrate anti-access environments such as the South China Sea. The JARI seems to be at least part of China’s response to that kind of warfare, the report said.
According to the product video, the drone appears to be modular and reconfigurable for the different mission areas, but it’s unclear what missions are permanently integrated into the system.
In the video, JARI is shown alternately shooting down an aerial drone, sinking a submarine, machine-gunning a RHIB full of adversaries trying to steal it (after firing warning shots) and sinking a surface ship that looked a little like a littoral combat ship, the report said.
The boat tops out at 42 knots and has a range of about 500 nautical miles.
It can be controlled by either a shore station or from a mother ship, Navy Recognition reported.
There is no word on what kind of communication link the boat would have and where exactly humans would be in the loop. In the video it appeared that at least the forward-mounted machine gun would fire automatically at rapidly closing surface targets after firing a round of warning shots.