China has invested heavily in undersea warfare over the last decade. It is well known, for example, that during this period Beijing has been building at least four classes of submarines while simultaneously importing advanced diesel submarines and lethal undersea weapons from Russia. Less well understood in the West is China's broad effort to develop sophisticated unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to complement its submarine force.
Many aspects of Chinese UUV development remain cloaked in mystery, since these systems do not yield their secrets to watchful satellites, as warships and aircraft sometimes do. This article marks the first public attempt to gauge the scope, progress, and ultimate ambitions of Chinese UUV development.