Chinese Robo-Boats Swarm the South China Sea

Warrior Maven

Warrior Maven Video Analysis Above: The Chinese Military Threat - Weapons & Dangers

Beijing is well situated to exploit unmanned machines.

byRobert Beckhusen

A video from late May 2018 shows a swarm of 56 small, unmanned boats operating in the South China Sea. While a rudimentary demonstration, it mirrors similar exercises performed by U.S. Navy boats practicing semi-autonomously to defend harbors and intercept incoming vessels.

The Chinese robo-boats do not appear to be armed, but the company behind it Yunzhou Tech Corporation revealed an armed unmanned boat at a Beijing Civil-Military Integration Expo in July 2017.

The show focused on cutting-edge technologies that China believes could provide an asymmetric advantage in a conflict with the United States. Meaning, cheaper technologies and tactics that allow a weaker adversary to exploit unanticipated weaknesses in a more powerful opponent.

If the at-sea demonstration is any sign, those capabilities are developing.

The expensive and difficult portion of a robotic swarm is the technology you cant see the networks and algorithms that allow machines to work together and avoid obstacles. The boats themselves are cheap.

Once you figure out the mathematical problems, then its a simple matter of arming each of those small boats with rockets and missiles and sending them after a $1 billion cruiser. Like a swarm of mosquitoes, the cruiser cant swat them all away before one draws blood.

However, the Chinese military is not entirely sold on the concept, as there are more conservative-minded generals who prefer the Peoples Liberation Army focus on  improving and expanding its conventional, and established, military forces warships, fighter jets and missiles as opposed to taking risks on largely untried technology.

But Chinese companies are still developing drones, and the armed Wing Loong similar to the U.S. Predator has proliferated to Africa where it has seen combat. A more anodyne set of examples of developing Chinese drone tech are the dancing displays of networked machines taking to the skies during public events.

Recommended:What Will the Sixth-Generation Jet Fighter Look Like?

Recommended:Imagine a U.S. Air Force That Never Built the B-52 Bomber

Recommended:Russia's Next Big Military Sale - To Mexico?

Recommended:Would China Really Invade Taiwan?

This first appeared in WarIsBoringhere. 

More Weapons and Technology - [WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE](https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven "<strong style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bolder;\\\\\\\\\\"><em style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box;\\\\\\\\\\">WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE</em></strong>"))--

--- Kris Osborn, Managing Editor of [WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE](https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven "<strong style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bolder;\\\\\\\\\\"><em style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box;\\\\\\\\\\">WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE</em></strong>")) can be reached at [krisosborn.ko@gmail.com](mailto:krisosborn.ko@gmail.com "<strong style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bolder;\\\\\\\\\\"><em style=\\\\\\\\\\"box-sizing: border-box;\\\\\\\\\\">krisosborn.ko@gmail.com</em></strong>") -

Comments

Future Weapons

FEATURED
COMMUNITY