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China working to develop ‘killer robot’ ships to hunt American destroyers, subs, aircraft

Chinese naval developers are working on a “robot” design they claim will be used to hunt American destroyers and submarines in the South China Sea and beyond.

The China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company’s small unmanned JARI USV is a 20-ton, 15-meter surface vessel the company hopes will function like a smaller version of the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

And while the robot ship is far smaller than the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s Type-55 manned destroyers, the mission for the JARI USV is the same: Anti-submarine, anti-surface, and anti-air warfare.

The Chinese shipbuilder China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company is developing a small unmanned surface vessel that China wants to function essentially like the uninhabited baby brother of a U.S. Arleigh Burke destroyer.




A model of the drone was on display at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, Defense News reported.

The unmanned ship is equipped with an electro-optical sensor that sits atop a superstructure, as well as a phased array radar, a dipping sonar, eight small vertical launch system cells, a torpedo launcher and a forward mounted machine gun and rocket launcher for surface targets.

A model was displayed at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference.

The U.S. Navy has been pursuing similar designs to serve as surface platforms to be deployed against undersea and surface threats. Also, the Navy seeks to develop and deploy “a network of sensor and shooter drones to penetrate anti-access environments such as the South China Sea,” Defense News reported.

The JARI appears to be the PLAN’s version of a drone ship that would be tasked with a similar mission set.

Defense News further reported:

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 boat tops out at 42 knots and has a range of about 500 nautical miles.

Last year, when China unveiled the design at a show in Africa, a representative told Navy Recognition that the drone was for use by the PLAN and for foreign sales and that a working prototype was being tested in China.

The Chinese vessel can be controlled by a ‘mother’ ship or a shore station, according to specifications.

It’s unclear where humans would be in the loop in terms of controlling the JARI and firing its weapons.


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