Chinese researchers are working on flying submarines that can burst from the water and reach the skies higher than ever. According to analysts, these stealth aircraft are designed to avoid radar and sonar and might hunt in packs to ambush aircraft carriers.
According to the South China Morning Post, a prototype flying submarine drone has already been created and tested in a research facility at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The drone is propelled by four propellers, two of which tilt forward. It glides through the water with a pair of huge wings folded over its back, giving it the appearance of a traditional sleek submarine. The wings spring out as it soars into the air at 75mph – twice the speed of a standard drone propelled by rotor blades.
According to the researchers, the drone can gently approach an underwater target and hover in one spot for an extended period. In addition, professor Ang Haisong stated in a study journal that it “consumes little energy when cruising in a fixed-wing mode so that it can undertake some quick, long-range missions in the air.”
According to Prof. Ang’s team, two scaled-down prototypes with wing spans of roughly 6ft 6 inches were developed.
Larger real-world equivalents would have a variety of civilian and military applications, such as examining underwater mines. According to experts, the central aspect is the ability to avoid air and sea defences and launch surprise kamikaze attacks.
Similarly, other Chinese teams are working on various other “transmedia vessels,” according to the Morning Post.
“They are mainly for military applications. Some can fly at supersonic speed,” said a researcher at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xian.
According to Professor Ji Wanfeng of Yantai Naval Aviation University, this type of vessel is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to weaken an aircraft carrier fleet’s defences.
According to Prof Ji and his colleagues, a modern warship’s multilayered defence system can fire down almost half of approaching planes, missiles, or traditional drones. On the other hand, a transmedia vessel can dive underwater when identified by radar and then emerge to avoid sonar. Prof Ji believes a few drones could confuse or even overwhelm a warship’s defences.
“The drones can achieve efficient strikes against the enemy’s key targets. It will surely become a powerful supplement to the Chinese navy’s existing equipment, combat methods and tactics,” Prof Ji added.
The date of the research paper is crucial since it comes at a time when there are growing fears that Beijing will launch a war to capture self-ruled Taiwan. Last week, the Chinese military ringed the island and fired a volley of ballistic missiles in massive war games considered preparations for an invasion.
China seems to be at the forefront of the global high-tech arms race, investing billions in a horrifying array of new weapons. Last year, it was revealed that Chinese scientists had been quietly working on AI stealth submarines since the 1990s.
Moreover, to compete with Russia, China is also creating flying stealth drones, suicide drone swarms, and atmosphere-skimming hypersonic weapons.