China’s Marine Lizard Is the Ultimate Sea-Land-Air Combat Drone Ship

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SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 11, 2011) The amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) launches a target drone during a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Malaysia 2011 drone gunnery exercise. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher S. Johnson/Released)

The Statesman quoted the Chinese state-run media house Global Times stating that the Corporation (CSIC), the drone ship, named Marine Lizard, successfully passed delivery checks and left the factory on April 8 in Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei Province on Monday.

Features of the Drone Ship

  1. Having a maximum operating range of 1,200 km, the Marine Lizard can be remotely controlled via satellites, an official said.
  2. In ship form, the 12-meter-long Marine Lizard is a trimaran propelled by a diesel-powered hydro jet and can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth, it said.
  3. When approaching land, the amphibious drone ship can release four continuous track units hidden under its belly, and travel at 20 km an hour on land, the daily report quoted an unnamed official as saying.
  4. The official said the maximum land speed can be increased if larger track units are installed.
  5. With about USD 178 billion defense budget, the two million strong Chinese militaries, the world’s largest, has been focussing on developing a range of new weapons in recent years.
  6. The Marine Lizard’s payloads include an electro-optical system and a radar system.
  7. In the weapon department, it is equipped with two machine guns and a vertical launching system for anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, the official said.
  8. It can autonomously sail, avoid obstacles and plan routes, he said.

Island Assault Operations Suitable

This amphibious drone boat is suitable for island assault operations as a swarm of such drone ships could lead an attack following the first wave of artillery and air strikes, an anonymous military expert told daily.

How does it help in defense?

Approaching land from the sea is a dangerous task, and the Marine Lizard can take advantage of its unmanned nature to discover enemy positions and provide suppressive fire as troops follow, the expert said.

The drone boat is also a great choice for coastal defense. The company manager said it can remain dormant on an uninhabited island for up to eight months before engaging in combat once it receives orders, the report said.

Guided by China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the Marine Lizard can cooperate with other battle units in an integrated command system, the official said.

Unmanned Sea-Land-Air Combat System

He also pointed out the amphibious Marine Lizard can possibly form an unmanned sea-land-air integrated combat system with aerial armed reconnaissance drones and other drone ships, which can engage in combat with great efficiency and low risk of casualties, the officials said, adding that it is also available for exports.

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Source: The Statesman

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