(From Popular Science)
DSA 2016 Kuala Lumpur is one of Asia’s leading arms shows, as arms manufacturers from around the world congregate in Kuala Lumpur to pitch their weapons to Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. In spite of territorial tensions over the South China Sea, China has given its weapons makers carte blanche to offer advanced systems to Southeast Asian countries. Chinese defense contractors, in addition to pitching the usual array of frigates, fighter jets, anti-ship missile and air defense radars, have taken the leap of offering new unmanned systems that are still undergoing testing by, or have just entered service with the Chinese military.
Poly Technologies, a subsidiary of China Poly Group Corporation, is selling a high speed trimaran unmanned surface vessel (USV), the High Speed Intercept Boat, to Southeast Asian coast guards and navies. The unnamed boat is 13 meters long, 4 meters across and has a draft of 60 centimeters, its twin 850 hp engines propel it to a top speed of 80 knots at a range of 200 nautical miles, can set its own course and chase targets, and comes with an advanced electro-optical camera and high bandwidth datalinks.
Program manager Zhu Yingzi mentioned that a HSIB prototype is already undergoing testing in the PLAN, performing missions that include base patrol. The HSIB has an armament option of two 7.62mm light machine guns, or one heavy 12.7mm machine gun turret (the HSIB) is big enough to also carry small guided missiles). The PLAN’s official interest in USV shows that future Chinese robot boats would likely include USV swarming enemy forces and working with other unmanned and manned platforms in the littoral environment (as shown in Chinese defense contractor materials), anti-submarine warfare, minehunting and reconnaissance missions. And China is quite happy to sell its future USVs to make friends and influence people in Asia. Read more