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China launches JARI combat drone boat

The state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation launched the JARI combat unmanned surface vessel on Wednesday, August 21, Global Times reported.

With the launch at an undisclosed location and without sea trials, the JARI drone boat attained initial combat capability, CSIC said in a statement, acknowledging that further testing was required for the USV to achieve fully autonomous capability. A prototype undertook sea trials in 2018.

The 15 m (49 ft) JARI boat has a 4.8m beam (width) and displaces 20 tons. The water-jet powered USV can reach 42 knots and has a range of around 500 nautical miles (925 km).

JARI’s modular design enables a range of tasks including air defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine missions. The boat is equipped with a phased array radar system, variable-depth sonar, satellite communications and electro-optical systems. Weapons systems include a 30mm automatic gun, a vertical launch unit for surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles, and two launchers for light torpedoes.

JARI can be controlled remotely from a mother ship or shore station, but it can use artificial intelligence to autonomously navigate alone or as part of a swarm, and undertake combat activities once commanded.

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