Zhongbang Intelligent Technology (ZB Intelligence), a Qingdao-based company specialising in the development of control and navigation systems for unmanned surface vessels (USVs), announced a new amphibious combat USV development called the Marine Lizard at the Airshow China 2018 exhibition in Zhuhai, held from 6-11 November.
The Marine Lizard is primarily designed to be an autonomous and rapidly deployable mobile weapons platform that aids a defending force in repelling coastal and beach assaults, although it can also perform ship-to-shore troop transport and logistical resupply missions if required.
The prototype Marine Lizard adopts a 13.5 m trimaran hullform and is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system that supplies power to the four electrically powered track units installed under each corner of the hull bottom, which enable it to achieve a maximum speed of 20 km/h depending on the terrain. When transitioned to surface operations, the sea vehicle is powered by a pair of rear-mounted waterjets, which offer a stated maximum speed of 50 kt and cruising range of 648 n miles (1,042 km).
Song Ding, vice-president of international business at ZB Intelligence, told Jane's that the Marine Lizard's payload and weapons fit has yet to be finalised, but revealed that it will be capable of carrying a diverse range of electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) and radar sensors, as well as weapons such as heavy machine guns and anti-armour and very short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) missiles.
"We believe that there is significant interest in the domestic and international markets for such platforms in the future as many of our potential customers have long coasts and islands to safeguard," Song said, revealing that the company is already in discussion with several local and regional naval and maritime security forces to schedule demonstrations after its development is complete by late 2019, although he declined to disclose further details.
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