Media footage shows Chinese unmanned tanks now in testing stage

Updated 2018-03-21 10:27:01

Recent footage shown on Chinese media reveals that China's unmanned tanks are now in their testing stage.

Footage recently broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) shows a Type 59 tank being driven by remote control, the first time a China-made unmanned tank has been unveiled to the public.

The Type 59 tank, the first medium-sized tank that China produced in bulk, has a relatively long service life. The Type 59 tanks that are currently in service are well maintained, Liu Qingshan, the chief editor of Tank and Armoured Vehicle, told the Global Times.

"A large number of due-to-retire Type 59 tanks can be converted into unmanned vehicles if equipped with artificial intelligence," Liu said.

China's Type 59 is based on the Soviet T-54A tank, which was shipped to China in the 1950s. It can be armed with a 100mm or 105mm cannon and requires a crew of four to operate it, Sputnik News reported on Sunday.

Unmanned tanks are part of the concept of "contactless combat" aided with aggressive intelligent weapons.

In future, unmanned tanks will be able to work on other unmanned platforms, and also integrate information sourced from surveillance satellites, airplanes or submarines.

They will also be capable of continuous combat with greater speed and higher lethality, Liu said. However, Liu added that the unmanned Type 59 based tanks are still in their test phase.

Although the CCTV footage shows the country has managed to operate tanks using remote control, there are still many technical problems that need to be resolved before they can achieve the same combat capabilities as manned tanks.

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