China launches first Unmanned Vessel capable of launching drone

According to information published by City of Zuhai on May 20, 2022, China's first intelligent unmanned system mother ship, Zhu Hai Yun, was launched in Guangzhou to begin further sea trials with the goal of starting operations by the end of this year.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Chinese Unmanned Vessel Zhu Hai Yun, Guangzhou. (Picture source: Chinese TV)

The Zhu Hai Yun vessel is subordinated to the Southern Marine Science & Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai) and is named after the city of Zhuhai.

Advanced designs were applied to the ship, making it China's first scientific expedition vessel with remote control and open water autonomous navigation functions. It is expected to bolster China's marine scientific research and marine economic development.

The unmanned vessel is 88.5 m (290 ft) in length, 14 m (46 ft) in width, and 6.1 m (20 ft) in-depth, with a designed draught of 3.7 m (12 ft) and water discharge volume of 2,000 metric tons. It can travel at a maximum speed of 18 knots and a cost-optimal speed of 13 knots.

The ship boasts a spacious deck that is able to carry dozens of air, sea, and submarine unmanned system equipment, as well as observation instruments. It can be deployed to targeted sea areas and form a task-oriented adaptive network to realize three-dimensional dynamic observation of specific targets.

Construction of the vessel started on July 20, 2021, while its core components, including the power, propulsion, intelligent, and survey operation support systems, were independently researched and developed in China.

Upon its operation, it is expected to change the traditional marine observation mode, obtain real-time three-dimensional marine observation data, as well as improve the efficiency and level of marine observation, which will support the cultivation of high-end marine technology talents and bolster marine science and technology innovation.

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