Thursday, June 13, 2024

China builds world’s first dedicated drone carrier, but it’s shrouded in mystery: Report

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China has built the world’s first dedicated drone carrier, but the circumstances surrounding it remain a mystery. According to a report by Naval News on Wednesday (May 15), the drone carrier is hidden on the Yangtze. The report said that the ship was launched in December 2022 but the news of it had not been reported until now. 

China currently has three carriers, and this drone carrier would be the country’s fourth. Drones are increasingly becoming a part of naval warfare, and the navies of some countries- notably Iran and Turkey, are working on plans for drone carriers.

A design smaller than regular aircraft carriers

The Naval News report said that the design of China’s drone carrier is smaller than the regular aircraft carriers, with a flight deck approximately one-third the length and half the width of a US Navy or Chinese Navy supercarrier. 

It is slightly shorter but wider than a World War Two escort carrier, the report said.

The report pointed out that it would be possible to operate a fixed-wing aircraft from the carrier, but its straight deck arrangement would be anachronistic, not allowing aircraft to take off and land at the same time.

There also doesn’t seem to be space for a typical aircraft hangar, so the number of aircraft would be limited.

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“It is immediately apparent that it is, in general arrangement, an aircraft carrier of some sort. It has a marked runaway running along the port (left side) with an island superstructure on the starboard (right) side,” the report also said.

The flight deck is wide enough to comfortably operate aircraft or drones with a wingspan of around 20 meters such as Chinese versions of the Predator drone. 

(With inputs from agencies)

Harshit Sabarwal

Newsman. MMA Striker.

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