Chinese state media has revealed ‘Marine Lizard,’ an autonomous amphibious landing vehicle designed for the nation’s military. The ‘drone boat’ can launch anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and also features a pair of machine guns. The company behind the vehicle, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), revealed its new military vessel on Chinese social media this week.
According to state news source Global Times, the Marine Lizard was designed for land assault operations and can be used as part of a ‘combat triad’ alongside other drone ships and sky drones. CSIC said in a post on Chinese social media website Weibo that its amphibious drone vehicle left the factory on April 8.
Marine Lizard is nearly 40ft long; it features a diesel-powered hydrojet with a maximum speed of 50 knots, and the maker says it can maintain its stealth at those high speeds. When it nears land, four tracks are lowered beneath the vehicle, which then travels at a maximum speed of around 12MPH on land.
In addition to its weapons, the Marine Lizard features radar and an electro-optical system, as well as tech that enables it to autonomously travel, plan routes, and avoid obstacles. The state publication describes the drone vehicle’s use in combat, revealing that Marine Lizard can reside dormant at coastal locations for up to 8 months at a time.
The company heavily focuses on the potential for autonomous combat systems involving the Marine Lizard alongside armed sky drones and autonomous ships, positioning them as a way to ‘engage in combat with great efficiency’ while keeping causalities low.