China is said to have launched the first autonomous carrier ship. Dozens of drones and unmanned surface vehicles as well as submarines are said to be on board. According to media reports, the unmanned ship will be used in the areas of sea rescue, observation of the marine environment and maintenance of offshore wind farms. It is currently unclear whether it will also carry out military tasks.
The ship is 88.5 meters long, 14 meters wide and 6.1 meters high. It relies on an electric DC drive. With this, the Zhu Hai Yun achieves a maximum speed of 18 knots (33 km/h). Initially, the carrier ship is to be controlled from land, on the high seas an artificial intelligence takes command – this was developed by the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory and was known as the Mobile Ocean Stereo Observing System (IMOSOS).
The construction of the carrier ship only started in 2021 – but this only lasted 10 months. According to the South China Morning Post, it was completed in May 2022. Nevertheless, a deployment is only planned for the end of the year, before a number of tests have to be carried out.