Advanced military technologies continue to emerge amid the nearly nine-month-long war between Russia and Ukraine. Undoubtedly, the conflict has prompted superpowers to reassess their defense capabilities and innovate existing as well as develop new weapons in line with the critical lessons seen and learned from the warring nations. China is no exception.

Striving to achieve its military modernization ambitions, Beijing has made impressive progress in upping and revamping its warfare technologies, which caught the international community’s attention. Among the innovations, China appears to be pouring resources into designing autonomous vehicles and remote-controlled weapons as if taking notes on Ukraine’s approach so far in the war against Russia.

With assistance from the West, Ukraine successfully defended its soil against Russian tanks by using unmanned drones, quadcopters, and portable anti-tank missiles that left invaders virtually defenseless. On November 16, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported that Russian troops had already lost nearly 2,900 tanks since the war broke out earlier this year.

During this year’s Zhuhai Airshow, China showcased an unmanned version of its VT5 light tank called the VT5-U. This may be the country’s attempt to create an autonomous option for its light tank enabling its forces enhanced protection in addition to better maneuverability.

Also known as the Type 15 tank, this Chinese light tank first appeared in 2010 as a successor to the aging Type 62 used by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It is a three-crew vehicle that measures 9.2 meters in length and 3.3 meters in width and weighs around 33 tons. Its armaments include a 105mm rifled gun with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor with a maximum firing range of 3,000 meters. It can also be equipped with secondary armament, which includes a remotely controlled weapon station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It officially entered service in 2020 and was deployed at the height of the border dispute with India that summer.

The unmanned version, which resembles the VT5, is a modern combat vehicle outfitted with “several observation systems that can be accessed remotely, including three cameras mounted on the front of the hull and one at the back.” Moreover, the turret has four additional cameras, one installed in each corner. It is undetermined, however, whether the vehicle will have an automatic mode feature.