China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) outlined its plans for a new family of unmanned surface vessels (USVs) at the 2017 International Ocean Science and Technology (OST) exhibition in Qingdao.
The platforms are aimed at addressing a range of maritime security and naval requirements, and are under development by the Beijing-based 13th Research Institute of CASC’s Ninth Academy. The new USV designs include the 8.5 m long B850, which is intended to conduct high-speed maritime patrol and interdiction missions, the 11.5 m long A1150 for hydrographic survey, and the 15 m long C1500, which is optimised for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.
The B850 High Speed Patrol USV is based on a 8.5 m rigid-hull inflatable boat seaframe outfitted with a diesel propulsion system with a proposed maximum speed of 40 kt and operational endurance in excess of 24 hours, or out to a range of 107 n miles. The design is also expected to be capable of operating in conditions of up to Sea State 4.
Standard mission equipment for the B850 will comprise an electro-optical/infrared turret with high definition day/night observation capabilities and integral laser rangefinder, a navigation radar, and satellite communications array, as well as a long range acoustic device. It is also capable of carrying a small multirotor unmanned aircraft system to extend its surveillance range.
The B850 is typically outfitted with a forward-mounted remote weapon system armed with a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun, although it can also be armed with anti-frogmen rockets for facility or force protection operations. An eight-tube launcher system was shown on the display model at OST 2017.
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