China has successfully tested world's first armed drone boat named Marine Lizard. It will be used in land assault operations and is capable of forming a combat triad with aerial drones and other drone ships.
- It has been built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).
- It can be remotely controlled via satellites. It is 12-meter-long and propelled by a diesel-powered hydrojet.
- It can reach maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth. It has maximum operation range of 1,200 kms.
- It can autonomously sail, avoid obstacles and plan routes, On approaching land, it can release four continuous track units hidden under its belly and travel at 20 kms an hour land.
- It can carry payloads such as electro-optical system and radar system. It is equipped with two machine guns and vertical launching system for anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
- It can remain dormant on an uninhabited island for up to eight months before engaging in combat once it receives orders.
- It is guided by China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. It can cooperate with other battle units in sea-land-air integrated command system.
- Applications: It is suitable for island assault operations as swarm of such drone ships could lead attack following first wave of artillery and air strikes. It can discover enemy positions and provide suppressive fire as troops follow. It can also be used for coastal defence.