China Gearing Up for Drone Warfare
A fascinating and unsettling new story in The Washington Free Beacon says that according to the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s military is planning to produce almost 42,000 land and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its ongoing, large-scale military buildup.
China already operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft, and is in the process of developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intel gathering and bombing attacks.
“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report states.
China’s capacity to use drones is increasing and the report noted that China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between now and 2023.”
Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three designed to fire precision-strike weapons.
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report observed.
China's drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon calls a decades-long military buildup that in 2014 produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of subs and ships.
The Pentagon also, for the first time, confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.Read More... Local Archived Copy
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