China will develop its next- generation cruise missiles based on a modular design, allowing them to be tailor-made for specific combat situations with high level of artificial intelligence (AI), a senior missile designer said.
“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements,” Wang Changqing, director of the General Design Department of the Third Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, said.
“Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of AI and automation,” Wang was quoted as saying by the state-run China Daily.
“They will allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or even to add more tasks to in-flight missiles,” he said.
The future combat will require weapons to be cost- efficient and flexible. Therefore, the modular design will be a good solution, he said.
China last year for the first time displayed its Dongfeng -21D missile, the anti-ship ballistic missile described as the “carrier killer” which caused concern among US defence officials as it could blow up aircraft carriers from a distance of about 1500 km to 1700 kms.
Dongfeng-21D along with long and short range missiles were displayed at the country’s biggest military parade last year held to mark 70th anniversary of victory against Japan in WW-II.
Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said a modular missile will be capable of changing its destructive capacity, flight mode and range, and so is suitable for striking targets on the ground or at sea.
Modular design is not new to the world’s missile developers.
The European missile developer and manufacturer MBDA displayed its CVW102 Flexis modular missile concept at last year’s Paris Air Show.
The system will allow missiles to be configured, according to mission requirements, the China Daily report said.
Missiles will be selected and assembled with different warheads, engines and guidance devices based on target information, a report on advanced missiles published by the Beijing Hiwing Scientific and Technological Information Institute, which researches aerodynamic missiles and unmanned systems said.