China's Robot Submarines Could Be the Ultimate Underwater Spy

David Axe

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China as part of its Oct. 1, 2019 national anniversary celebration revealed a new class of large robotic submarine.

The unmanned underwater vehicle apparently is in the same class as UUVs that the United States and the United Kingdom also are developing -- and could help the Chinese fleet to match the U.S. and U.K. fleets in undersea warfare.

At least two copies or mockups of the Chinese UUV, reportedly designated HSU-001, appeared on flatbed trucks in the military parade through Beijing.

"If it's real, and I assume it's probably real, it looks like it's designed mostly for intelligence gathering." Bryan Clark, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C., told Business Insider.

At around 15 feet in length, the HSU-001 probably isn’t big enough to carry weapons such as torpedos or mines. "It doesn't really look like it's made for mine-laying," Clark said.

Clark told Business Insider China most likely would deploy a large UUV in the East China Sea, where its long endurance -- potentially several weeks or months -- could allow it to gather intelligence on Japan and, presumably, U.S. forces in Japan.

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