The drones are currently mostly working individually but with the right technological upgrades could patrol in packs, experts say.

Western countries have increased their engagements with the island nation of Taiwan, which China sees as a provocation.
Western countries have increased their engagements with the island nation of Taiwan, which China sees as a provocation. (Reuters)

China has declassified its new unmanned underwater drone designed specifically to target "enemy" submarines, a recent report said.

The project to build such a drone dates back to 1990s and its specifics were revealed in an academic paper last week, reported South China Morning Post on Thursday. 

The drone was test-fired in Taiwan Strait without human input a decade ago. 

The drone "could detect a mock craft, use artificial intelligence to identify its origin, and hit it with a torpedo."

The project, the report said, is funded by China's People's Liberation Army.

"It is unclear why China has now declassified details of the test, but the tension over the Taiwan Strait has recently escalated to its highest point in decades," the report noted.

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Future underwater warfare

Tensions between China and Western countries in Taiwan Strait have raised exponentially, mostly under former US president Donald Trump's administration.

The Western allies have increased their engagements with the island nation of Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a provocation.

"These robotic drones are now working mostly individually, but with technological upgrades could patrol in packs," said Professor Liang Guolong from Harbin Engineering University, China's top submarine research institute.

Specifics suggest the unmanned drone can patrol "about 10 metres below the surface following a predetermined route."

"The needs of future underwater warfare bring new development opportunities for unmanned platforms," the researchers said in their paper, published in the Journal of Harbin Engineering University last Friday.

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Source: AA