China has announced what local media is calling the “world’s first armed amphibious drone boat.”
The 39-foot-long Marine Lizard is designed to assist land assault operations and can form a web with other drone ships and airborne drones in order to act in tandem with them. It can reach a maximum of 50 knots (roughly 57 mph) in the water thanks to a diesel hydrojet engine — and on land it can reach only 12 mph (20 km/h) thanks to four track units mounted to its underbelly.
Autonomous Drone Ship
The Marine Lizard was built by the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Company (CSIC) to be truly autonomous: it can find its own way, maneuver around obstacles, or be remotely controlled via satellites with an impressive operating range of 7,450 miles (1,2000 km). When not in use, the vehicle can go into sleep mode for up to eight months while it’s not in operation, according to the Global Times.
The unusual amphibian drone is touted as a great way to assist recon missions from both aerial drones and other ships — and could do so very efficiently and with a low risk of casualties, according to the company.
READ MORE: China unveils the first autonomous amphibious military landing vehicle [The Verge]
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