China military develops robotic submarines to launch a new era of sea power

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Autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed by China in the early 2020s. Graphic: Henry Wong

 

Unmanned AI subs, expected in the 2020s, could challenge the advantage Western naval powers have in strategic waters like the South China Sea

China is developing large, smart and relatively low-cost unmanned submarines that can roam the world’s oceans to perform a wide range of missions, from reconnaissance to mine placement to even suicide attacks against enemy vessels, according to scientists involved in these artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

The autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed in the early 2020s. While not intended to entirely replace human-operated submarines, they will challenge the advantageous position established by Western naval powers after the second world war. The robotic subs are aimed particularly at the United States forces in strategic waters like the South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean, the researchers said. Continue reading

PLA warships carry out biggest live-fire drills yet in South China Sea

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General Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA Navy

 

Exercises in the South China Sea draw South, North and East Sea fleets, and come ahead of an international ruling on Beijing’s claims in the waters

The PLA Navy has carried out its largest live-fire drill yet in the South China Sea, ahead of a ruling by an international tribunal on a dispute with the Philippines over claims to the strategic waters.

Warships from the north and east fleets joined the south fleet in the drills, the army mouthpiece PLA Daily said on its website. Continue reading

China pursuing huge South China Sea land reclamation: US

China has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea this year, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, US officials said Friday.

The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, officials said.

“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” said a US defense official. Continue reading

Philippines deploys marines to disputed shoal in strategic sea

MANILA–The Philippines has deployed a fresh batch of marines and supplies to a shoal in the disputed South China Sea, where a Chinese warship and surveillance vessels appeared last month and triggered a new standoff in the strategic waters, the Philippine defense secretary said Wednesday.

The new contingent of Filipino marines replaced troops at the Second Thomas Shoal, where the arrival last month of Chinese ships sparked diplomatic protests from the Philippines. Continue reading

Russia to resume SSBN patrols of worldwide strategic waterways

In a throwback to the Cold War, Russia announced plans to beef up its submarine patrols of strategic waters around the world.

“On June 1 or a bit later we will resume constant patrolling of the world’s oceans by strategic nuclear submarines,” Russian Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky announced Feb. 3.

Global patrols by nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines or SSBNs were a hallmark of the Soviet Union’s nuclear deterrence strategy.

Full article: Russia to resume SSBN patrols of worldwide strategic waterways (World Tribune)