Amid all the recent talk about the need for U.S. Navy minesweepers in the Persian Gulf in case Iran attempts to close the straight of Hormuz with sea mines, I noticed an interesting fact about China’s minesweeping plans. They involve drones. Not sleek, purpose-built, sea-going drones, but vessels originally designed to carry people that have been quickly converted to be remotely operated from an anti-mining mothership.
These pics show what China Defense Blog claims are Chinese navy minesweeping drones based on the Type 529 patrol craft. If you look closely you can see what appears to be orange, remotely controlled submersibles mounted on the sterns of the boats. The vessels may be controlled by the 818 Kunshan minesweeping ship that’s shown docked with the small patrol vessels below.
Click through the jump for more pictures.