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China’s new fleet of unmanned assault boats to use artificial intelligence, experts say

Unmanned vessel (YouTube/Oceanalpha USV)
June 17, 2018

China is currently testing unmanned, miniaturized assault boats that could be used by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to attack enemies at sea.

Artificial intelligence technology that has traditionally been implemented in aerial drones will be used in the boats.

“Once equipped with weapons, unmanned small combat vessels can attack the enemy in large numbers, similar to drones,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.

The prototypes, which resemble shark fins, were developed in a collaboration between a Guangdong-based tech company and the PLA.

China isn’t alone in developing unmanned vehicles, as the United States and other Western counties are working on creating “ant swarms” for operations on the ground, “drone swarms” for aerial operations and “shark swarms” for the sea.

Mother ships will control the individual vessels, but artificial intelligence provides additional assistance by allowing the boats to communicate with each other so collisions can be avoided.

Analysts believe that deploying a fleet of unmanned assault boats will help China scale up its naval capabilities.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is focused on expanding China’s global military presence, and dominating in the sea is part of his strategy. He has insisted that China will be a major power by 2050 with a modern and effective military.

China is already making serious efforts to utilize its growing Navy to help it fully control the South China Sea.

In addition, China has been constructing fortifications in the disputed waterway in the form of artificial islands and is constructing overseas ports in friendly nations.

Beijing’s launch of the Liaoning aircraft carrier is the first of a series of vessels that are expected to be developed over the next decade.

While many experts believe that the China is still far behind its western rivals on its navel technology, they also believe that its ambitions should be taken seriously.

After a long period of exercises, the Liaoning’s carrier group has reached “combat readiness.”

China’s navy recently coordinated an exercise that involved the vessel traveling through the disputed South China Sea and circling around the self-governed island of Taiwan.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), which is state-owned, is the largest vessel manufacturer in China and is developing a variety of technologies that will allow the PLA to be competitive. One of the manufacturer’s goals is to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

“We must… speed up key breakthroughs such as the realization of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, new-style nuclear submarines, quiet submarines and unmanned intelligent underwater defense systems,” CSIC outlined in a report.

This article was originally published at which is owned by American Military News.