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China speeds up the Dragon's Flight program
by Natalya Kasho
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Oct 29, 2012

There are about 30 drones of various modifications currently developed or deployed in China. In the process of re-equipping the Chinese Armed Forces their role will only go up.

China speeds up its program to develop unmanned aviation. It has announced the creation in the Liaoning province of the first two drone military bases set up to monitor the situation in the coastal areas.

Those two bases are meant as a present of the military to the XVIII congress of the Chinese Communist Party. China needs and values breakthroughs on the eve of that important political event. And the military come up with such breakthrough technologies at the same time strengthening their positions in the party hierarchy.

The commission for combat duty of China's first aircraft carrier as well as the announcement of the program of landing on the Moon and returning back to the Earth of a spaceship is other examples of the same. Earlier, China announced its intent to set up 11 drone bases by 2015.

The first two bases will be set up in the North-East of China. That is the region of the highest military activity not only in Asia, but also in the entire world.

During each year there are up to 10 military exercises involving the Navy and the Air Force of the USA, Japan and South Korea that take place there. China does not lag behind since it considers that region to be the zone of its priority influence. Now China's interests will be protected by drones as well.

They will collect intelligence video information about the neighbors' military exercises and coordinate the actions of China's Air Force and the Navy in the waters of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.

The drones will also provide the monitoring of the Diaoyu Islands. They are now controlled by Japan, but China considers them to be its native territories. In the event of a new conflict between the two countries in those disputed waters, the flights of China's drones at low altitudes can become a serious argument in the dispute.

Will the Chinese drones be equipped with any arms? There is no definite answer, although it is known that along with intelligence drones China is also working on shock drones, points out Denis Fedukinov, a military expert:

"China has had some success in copying a number of pieces of weapons and military equipment and borrowing some technical solutions from other countries. Knowing all this, one can assume that in the near future the Chinese Armed Forces will receive quite modern equipment on the basis of unmanned aerial vehicles. They will patrol the lengthy land border, its coastal borders and the expansive coastal areas.

Meanwhile, if China uses in any way the technical achievements of the West, which is to be expected, it is quite possible that its drones will be equipped with weapons. Because the USA and Israel have seriously advanced in developing and equipping their drones with missile systems.

Most likely China will initially use high altitude drones with a long range for intelligence missions and to guide its anti-vessel ballistic missiles. The Chinese mass media call them "aircraft carrier killers.

They are talking about the Chinese DF-21D missile. According to some estimates, being deployed at the Chinese Shaguang military base they are able to hit targets located in the 70% of the South China Sea waters. The remaining 30% in the future will be controlled by the Chinese aircraft carriers.

There are about 30 drones of various modifications currently developed or deployed in China. In the process of re-equipping the Chinese Armed Forces their role will only go up, believes Denis Fedukinov:

"Such increased activity and technical upgrade of China's Air Force most likely worries its neighbors. Perhaps, this is partially the reason for the current or future build-up of similar military equipment in some of China's neighbor states.

Despite considering it to be too expensive, South Korea is working on its drone development program assisted by the USA. The other countries in the region are unlikely to passively watch the flights of Chinese drones next to their borders.

Source: Voice of Russia


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