Underwater drones herald sea change in Pacific warfare

The drones that have changed the complexion of war from the sky are being replicated at sea, as great powers develop and deploy unmanned underwater vessels (UUVs) to gain a strategic edge in the Pacific and beyond.

The United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia are all developing and deploying the vessels, indicating the “dronification” of future maritime warfare.

The UK, which is expanding its military presence in the Pacific, is set to operate its first extra-large underwater drone to complement its Astute-class submarines. The Royal Navy’s efforts to design, build, and test such a drone have been designated Project CETUS, and aim to produce a 27-tonne, 12-meter Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) demonstrator.

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