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03/02/24: U.S Navy To Use Swarms of Marine Drones For Preventing Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

The U.S Navy is planning to acquire thousands of armed sea-borne attack drones from 2025 to prevent the Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

More information: 

In the Pacific, a lethal drone concept called hellscape is being developed and experimented with. The US Navy says that it could aid in disrupting an amphibious invasion of Taiwan through the use of loitering munitions and attack drones.

The attack could sow confusion and chaos and buy time for U.S and Taiwan to gather more forces.

The program to build these effective drones is inspired by Ukraine, which built similar low-cost surface drones and deployed them successfully against Russian vessels.

The drones would autonomously cross the contested regions, loiter in the designated areas, identify surface threats and be able to sprint to intercept enemy ships. They would also function in groups and execute complex autonomous behaviours to match the movements of the pursued vessel.

Industry submissions for building them and the required technologies to help them coordinate are being sought under the Production-Ready, Inexpensive, Maritime Expeditionary (PRIME) project. The selected solutions would be paired after a review.

The PRIME project is connected to the Pentagon’s Replicator initiative, which aims to counter the growing Chinese military capabilities.

Although the Replicator Project involves thousands of aerial drones, a maritime swarm would work with dozens of unmanned boats.

Naval Analyst Bryan Clark commented that the Navy is trying to get new kinetic, lethal USVs fielded to be employed in a western Pacific Context, probably the Taiwan Strait.

They are expected to have a 500 to 1000 nautical mile range and a payload capacity of 1000 pounds. The craft would be diesel-powered with a minimum speed of 35 knots and a loitering capacity of many days with sufficient fuel for return transit.

They would autonomously dodge maritime hazards and collisions with other ships and operate in a GNSS-denied scenario.

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