China Ramps Up Drone Capabilities for Potential Taiwan Invasion

is rapidly expanding its drone arsenal, including stealth drones, drone carriers, and underwater vehicles, signaling a shift towards a drone-centric naval strategy in preparation for a potential conflict with the US over Taiwan, reports Asia Times.

GJ-11 Sharp Sword Stealth Drone Mockups Spotted Near New Warship

Satellite imagery has revealed mockups of China's stealthy GJ-11 Sharp Sword unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) at a site on Changxing Island in Shanghai. The mockups, located near the construction of the Type 076 amphibious warship, suggest preparations for carrier and amphibious assault ship operations.

The GJ-11's stealth capabilities could significantly enhance China's naval aviation, particularly with the PLA-N's newest carriers and big deck amphibious assault ships. The site may serve as a testing and training ground for deck handling and maneuvering of the UCAVs.

Type 076 Amphibious Assault Ship: A Drone Carrier in Disguise?

China's Type 076 amphibious assault ship could serve as a drone carrier in a potential Taiwan conflict. The vessel, measuring 864 feet long and 141 feet wide, has a more extensive flight deck than previous models and may feature electromagnetic catapults and arresting gear, indicating a shift toward a more drone-centered naval strategy.

Drone carriers offer power projection advantages over conventional aircraft carriers by facilitating unmanned aerial operations at extended distances. In a potential conflict with Taiwan, China is likely to deploy drone swarms by land and sea to overpower the island's air defenses, preceding larger air and missile strikes and potentially an amphibious assault.

Manta Ray-Inspired Underwater Drone for Reconnaissance and Strike Roles

China is developing a soft-body unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that mimics manta rays in movement. While initially small and used for coral reef monitoring, plans are underway to develop a larger model for integrated reconnaissance and strike roles. The larger models will be able to dive deeper, collect more data, and be deployed in clusters for enhanced range and endurance.

The UUV is fitted with cameras, sonar, and the BeiDou navigation system, enabling it to transmit real-time video and location information. It has already reached an impressive depth of 3,280 feet.

DroneXL's Take

China's rapid development of advanced drones, including stealth UCAVs, drone carriers, and underwater vehicles, points to a multi-domain drone-centered military strategy aimed at achieving a swift victory in a potential conflict with the US over Taiwan.

The integration of drones into China's naval capabilities, coupled with the development of specialized drones for special operations, suggests that the PLA is preparing for a scenario involving seizing Taiwan's frontline islands and blockading the main island.

As China continues to invest heavily in , it is crucial for the US and its allies to monitor these developments closely and adapt their own strategies accordingly to maintain a strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region.

Photo courtesy of the China Military


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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