You have seen and read about the military’s seafaring drones, AKA unmanned sea vehicles or USV, and I am sure most of us are aware of land-roaming drones. Now, meet one that is both an unmanned sea vehicle and a land combat drone from China called Marine Lizard. It is a full-fledged drone outfitted with an electro-optical and radar systems, and armed with a pair of machine guns and a vertical launching system for anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
In addition, it is equipped technology to enable it to autonomously sail, avoid obstacles and plan routes. The 14.7 tonne, 39-foot long vessel is essentially an amphibious tank makes an impressive 50 knots (equivalent to 93 km/h or 58 mph) on water, powered by a diesel-powered hydro jet. When approaching land, four sets of tank tracks are deployed to enable it to climb ashore which would then allow it to traverse across land at a modest pace of 20 km/h (12 mph).
According to its manufacturer, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), 20 km/h is not its the maximum speed; it can be tweaked to go faster by switching to larger track units. Its ability to handle rough, unforgiving terrains is unknown, though. Marine Lizard has quite some range too. It reportedly has an operational range of 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) and it is designed to be remotely operated via satellites.
Military amphibious operation is of high risks and if history has taught us anything is, it often results in high casualties. With that in mind, the Marine Lizard was conceived. Its primarily designed to carry out “island assault operations as a swarm,” leading the attack “following the first wave of artillery and air strikes,” an anonymous military expert told state publication, the Global Times.
But really, what makes this military hardware even more terrifying is its ability to remain dormant on, for example, an uninhabited island for up to eight months before it is roused from its ‘sleep’ to go into combat when it receive the orders. Yikes. Tell me that does not sounds like a dystopia future happening right now.
Images: Weibo (CSIC).