On October 1st, China unveiled its first ever autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) HSU-001 during its National Day celebration Military Parade.
Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CBSA) spoke to Business Insider regarding the HSU-001.
According to him, it appears to be primarily useful for intelligence gathering. The expert claims that the AUV isn’t large enough carry large munitions in addition to the engine, batteries, and electrical systems that would be necessary to travel underwater for a prolonged period of time.
“It doesn’t really look like it’s made for mine-laying,” he said.
The masts atop the drone would be used to transmit intelligence back to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) via satellite.
The AUV is a strategically smart investment for China because it can be deployed from the mainland, or one of its many bases in the South China Sea.
Forbes suggested that the AUV will be used to patrol over long distances. In the case there are also thrusters that allow the device to “hang” in the water or move vertically up or down, as well as sideways.
The flat nose is a sign that the device is equipped with a relatively large sonar to detect underwater targets. Its retractable surveillance devices are similar to “periscopes”.
Small bumps on both sides of the front can be part of a homing system that allows you to find underwater objects, possibly even a mother submarine.
Large underwater robotic systems are considered as one of the modern key technologies in the naval warfare, but the cost and complexity of this solution do not yet allow the use of such devices in real combat operations.
Business Insider suggested that despite the technology being impressive, the US was still ahead of China in terms of it.
In contrast, Forbes claimed that the Chinese AUV is actually the state-of-the-art solution and it is the only one that can actually be used in practice.
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