China has launched an unmanned warship, which its developer claims is combat-ready. The ship, jointly developed by No. 716 and No. 702 research institutes under China's state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), has a length of about only 15 meters and a displacement of 20 tonnes. The JARI multi-purpose unmanned combat vessel held its launch ceremony on Wednesday at an undisclosed location, state-run Global Times reported on Thursday, quoting a statement issued by the CSIC.
The launch indicates that the drone ship has gained initial combat capability, the statement said. It will still need further tests to unlock its full potential of being a fully autonomous combat drone ship, it added.
It is capable of conducting air defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine missions as it is equipped with phased array radar system, vertical-launched missiles and torpedoes, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported in February this year when a model of the JARI was exhibited at the 14th International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi.
The JARI can be remotely controlled, but also uses artificial intelligence to autonomously navigate and undertake combat activities once it receives commands, the CCTV reported.