China · Information operations · Information Warfare

China may already have an army of drones to keep rivals in check

Aisheng ASN-209 (Silver Eagle) 

For slightly different details on Chinese UAV/UCAV, see Chinese Military Aviation, UAV/UCAV II.  Some of the UAVs mentioned in this article are here, some are not. 

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Written By: Zee Media Bureau

Updated: Aug 26, 2018, 09:23 AM IST

A number of drones have reportedly been in service of the Chinese military – some with long-range reconnaissance abilities and others with firing power.

Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, the modernisation of the Chinese military has been given prime importance with the country’s army, navy and air force looking at technological advancements to become a potent force. With an eye on the global military dominance that has traditionally been enjoyed by the like of the United States and Russia, China may well be looking at drones to turn the proverbial tide in its favour.

A recent report in the South China Morning Post outlined just why drones and similar unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being increasingly added to all three Chinese military forces. These are apart from cutting-edge weapons being researched to give the edge to foot soldiers, like laser guns and hypersonic ballistic missiles.

Some of the notable drones and UAVs that have reportedly already been issued are:

ASN series (Army): Believed to be smaller than conventional UAVs and could be used for reconnaissance. These could also pinpoint exact targets for precise artillery fire.

Changying (Navy): Believed to have a long range, these can reportedly fly for 40 hours without re-charge. They also have a range of 2,400 kms. Security experts believe these have been in use in East China Sea since 2013.

Silver Eagle (Navy): South China Morning Post reports that these are used for long-distance communication support and electromagnetic confrontation. These could also help in precise missile targeting and have a range of 200 kms. They have been in use since 2011.

Gogji (Air Force): These have a range of 4,000 kms and are similar to US Predator drones. It can reportedly carry 10 variants of weapons including air-to-ground missiles. While it can target enemies from above, the Gogji can also be used in electronic warfare.

Soaring Dragon

Soaring Dragon (Air Force): It is reported that China has deployed these in and around the Doklam area where the Army faced off with Indian Army last year.  With high-altitude surveillance capabilities, these drones can be gather crucial intelligence reports.

EA-03: Another high-altitude drone, these can be used for tracking enemy movement both on land as well as on sea. These may already be in use to keep a watch on US aircraft carriers.



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