China’s military is preparing for an underwater war against the United States in a bid to “seize sea supremacy,” namely arming itself with cutting edge drone submersibles, according to the People’s Liberation Army’s newspaper.
The newspaper report has it that China is currently zeroing in on unmanned underwater vehicles capable of conducting undercover attacks, as well as scrupulously organized networks of sensors planted on the seabed around the world, which may be discerned by satellites. The Chinese reportedly place their stake on smart subs operating without human control, which are a "new frontier mainly for laying ambushes with underwater robots, smart ‘phantom' weapons, and bionic fish-like devices to shape a network-based operations system."
"Before a crisis evolves into a war, the ‘phantom’ weapons may be deployed ahead of time in a way of deep submerging below the sea surface or deep lurking on the seafloor beneath a strategic sea channel, or a sea strait that the adversary's vessels will certainly pass through, one may activate such weapons via the space-based or sea-based low-frequency signal system to shape a pre-deployed underwater operations system with the capability of self-determined smart attacks," the report said.
Specifying what the second biggest economy means by the “neural network,” the report determined it as that of self-thinking weapons empowered by the “cerebral cognition” ability, which helps them process masses of underwater acoustic signals and visual images. Such weapons, reportedly set to be deployed by the early 2020s, will be able to trigger preliminary explosions in a bid to make an enemy give in due to “psychological weaknesses of the opponent in war.”
The report quoted Lin Yang, head of marine technology equipment at China's Shenyang Institute of Automation, confirming work on a series of extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles, or XLUUVs, meant to rival analogous US’ programs, with the battlefield expected to be the waters of the contested South China Sea and the western Pacific, the Chinese newspaper quoted researchers as saying.
In June, a brand-new Chinese underwater vehicle (AUV) made headlines as it dived deep into the South China Sea, covering a nearly 100-mile distance. Built by the Shenyang Institute of Automation, the colorful Qianlong III looks like a clownfish from children’s cartoons, but there is an incredible capacity behind the cute appearance, which specialists said may expand its original set of research missions to warfare and even underwater mining.