Determined to kill or capture a murderous Mekong River drug lord, China’s security forces considered a tactic they’d never tried before: calling a drone strike on his remote hideaway deep in the hills of Myanmar.
The attack didn’t happen — the man was later captured and brought to China for trial — but the fact that authorities were considering such an option cast new light on China’s unmanned aerial vehicle program, which has been quietly percolating for years and now appears to be moving into overdrive.
Every capable government is taking note of the success that the US has had in it’s drone campaign during the present war on terror. Any military worth half it’s salt will study the tactics of other countries even if it is their adversary, see what worked for them, and apply the tactics to their own strategies.
This obviously isn’t lost on the Chinese.
Chinese aerospace firms have developed dozens of drones, known also as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Many have appeared at air shows and military parades, including some that bear an uncanny resemblance to the Predator, Global Hawk and Reaper models used with deadly effect by the U.S. Air Force and CIA. Analysts say that although China still trails the U.S. and Israel, the industry leaders, its technology is maturing rapidly and on the cusp of widespread use for surveillance and combat strikes.
China’s move into large-scale drone deployment displays its military’s growing sophistication and could challenge U.S. military dominance in the Asia-Pacific. It also could elevate the threat to neighbors with territorial disputes with Beijing, including Vietnam, Japan, India and the Philippines. China says its drones are capable of carrying bombs and missiles as well as conducting reconnaissance, potentially turning them into offensive weapons in a border conflict.
They know what they are doing in terms of coming up with a military strategy in order to move fordard in offensive type military operations. They claim that the new technology is for defensive purposes but they will say whatever they have to in order to keep their weapons programs going.
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