China has inducted the first batch of unmanned maritime helicopters in the city of Weihai in East China's coastal Shandong Province on November 29, 2023 to better manage water traffic and maritime accidents. (Photo/CCTV News)
China has inducted the first batch of unmanned maritime helicopters in the city of Weihai in East China's coastal Shandong Province on Wednesday to better manage water traffic and emergency maritime accidents.
The two commissioned unmanned maritime helicopters, each 7.33 meters long, 1.58 meters wide and 2.43 meters high, are currently the most advanced unmanned helicopter deployed in China's maritime system, the CCTV News reported.
The helicopters have a payload capacity of 75 kilograms, a remote control range of up to 150 kilometers, a maximum endurance range of 400 kilometers, and a maximum flight speed of 150 km/h. They are fitted with infrared thermal imaging, real-time long-distance video transmission and emergency rescue material delivery, and can also perform missions in weather conditions with wind speeds of up to level 8, which is no more than 74 km/h according to the National Meteorological Information Center.
The helicopters will be used to monitor the waters around Chengshantou, which is the easternmost point of Shandong and is surrounded by sea on three sides.
The waters around Chengshantou are a crucial passage for ships entering and exiting ports in the Bohai Sea and the northern part of the Yellow Sea. About 110,000 commercial vessels pass through the area each year, with tens of thousands of fishing boats operating in the waters annually.
The unmanned maritime helicopters can track and monitor illegal vessels with aerial photography equipment in the daily law enforcement activities, enabling rapid investigation and evidence collection to help the onshore and offshore law enforcement forces in handling maritime violations, according to Wang Gang, Director of the Command Center of the Weihai Maritime Bureau.
Wang said the helicopters can also conduct rescue operations and oil spill monitoring in large-area water within a short time, playing a crucial role in ship pollution prevention and emergency rescue operations in the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea.
According to chinanews.com, China's Ministry of Transport approved the two small unmanned helicopters, which are the first of their kind to be integrated into the national maritime system, delivered to Weihai Maritime Bureau for use and trial operation in August 2022.