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Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Chinese Drones

Ronald Czarnecki.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Western defense officials and experts worldwide were surprised to see the drone capabilities displayed by the Chinese at this week’s Zhuhai Air Show. The Chinese displayed more than 25 different unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at this year’s air show after showing only a few of them in 2008. The surprise registered by Western officials pales in comparison to the shock and awe felt by North Koreans, South Koreans, the Taiwanese, and even the Japanese. They look at them in fear and see them as the perfect tools for the Chinese to drive the final nails into their future coffins. The stresses felt by Chinese neighbors will no doubt build as drone technology in China advances.
As China’s economic power grows so will its investments in its massive and dated military machine. The time and money being invested by the Chinese in its drone technology will be returned tenfold when the international markets come knocking with Antonov AN-225 and Boeing 747s filled with money. The big question is “Where will these huge planes be coming from?” Will they be coming from Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and India? Or, will Chinese ships be floating the drones across the seas to smaller countries like Lebanon, Somalia, or Yemen where they can be quietly exchanged for boatloads full of dirty money?
Drone technology, thus far, has been led by the U.S. and Israel. The pilotless weapons have been a major force of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for years. Some believe that drones may someday replace the role played by fighter jets in today’s defense systems. The Chinese displayed several drones capable of missile warfare. The WJ600, produced and shown by China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. (CASIC), is the drone that inspired the greatest fear at the show. The WJ600 can fly faster than the propeller-driven Predator and Reaper drones currently flown by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is capable of stealth flight and can carry several laser-guided missiles. Details of the operational aspects of the Chinese drones were shrouded in secrecy, but a video of the WJ600 being used in a simulated attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier steaming toward Taiwan struck fear in visitors who were able to view the two-dimensional display.
The Wall Street Journal article by Jeremy Page described many other drone technologies the Chinese are working on. CASIC, a major player in China’s space program, is developing an attack drone capable of “air-to-ground-missiles.” ASN Technology Group displayed 10 of their drone aircraft, a couple of which are already being used by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). ASN displayed a model of the ASN-229A Reconnaissance and Precise Attack UAV which is “designed to carry air-to-ground missiles, and to use a satellite link to locate and attack targets over a radius of 2,000 kilometers.” The company’s various drone options even include a drone designed for reconnaissance behind enemy lines. It is the size of a duck (ASN-211) and it has flapping wings. ASN claims that their models are all in production, but some are not on the market yet.
The Chinese are not talking about their technology exports overseas but their displays at the Zhuhai Air Show strike fear into the hearts of all of their neighbors. The Chinese have plans to “crush” America’s power and influence in “their” region of the globe. According to, our “military planners have discovered that China’s current arsenal of non-nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles could probably knock out five of six major American air bases in Japan and South Korea.” China has an obvious interest in controlling North Korea when its government falls. China has also deployed many of their 1,300 ballistic and cruise missiles to the coast opposite Taiwan whose air and naval defenses pose a threat to a future Chinese attack. While the Chinese have been expressing their ire at U.S. sales of weapons to Taiwan, especially the recent Patriot missile deal closed in January, the Chinese have, for years, been improving their military capabilities through their arms relationships with the Israelis.
When the U.S. gives aid to Israel, and more than 65% of it (amounting to almost $70 billion from 1949 to 2009) goes to the military, Israel reverse engineers U.S technology and sells it to nations who are often hostile to U.S. interests. Her list of customers include: Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the South Lebanon Army, India, China, Burma, and Zambia. Israel and the Chinese are particularly close as Israel is China’s second largest supplier of arms. China’s F-10 fighter was an almost identical version of the Israeli Lavi (Lion). The Lavi was a joint Israeli-US project based on the F-16. The current Chengdu J-10 “had direct input from Israel’s Lavi programme,” according to Russian aerospace engineers. A Navy EP-3E surveillance plane, forced to land in China in April, 2002, took pictures of Israeli built Python 3 missiles under the wings of the Chinese F-8 fighter that flew into the propeller of the EP-3. A 1996 Register of Conventional Arms disclosed the fact that China sold over 100 missiles and launchers to Iran, along with combat aircraft and warships. The New York Daily News reported in 1997 that Iraq had deployed Israeli-developed Chinese PL-8 missiles in the no-fly zones of Iraq jeopardizing U.S. pilots, igniting fires of Sino-Israeli ties.
blog post photoSome of the Chinese UAVs resemble U.S. models and some are using Israeli technology. attributes the Israeli influences to Chinese drone technology to the Israeli drone manufacturer, E.M.I.T., who was “caught shipping UAV technology to China” four years ago. The firm was struggling to stay in business at the time, and the Chinese provided cover as well as money necessary for their survival in the highly competitive drone industry. In the 1990s Israel sold China antiradar drones which infuriated Pentagon officials. Israel has since agreed to consult with the U.S. before transferring technologies to China in the future, but China has the persuasive economic clout to vigorously pursue its objectives.
The Zhuhai Air Show has, without a doubt, resulted in agreements to purchase drone technology and products from China. Pakistan confirmed at the air show that it will buy Chinese missiles and flight systems for its 250 JF-17 Thunder fighter planes which are manufactured jointly with the Chinese. Rao Qamar Suleman, air chief marshal of the Pakistan Air Force, announced that they may also purchase Chinese surface-to-air-missiles, according to a report filed yesterday in There were no reports, however, of the new drones displayed at the Zhuhai Air Show and none are expected. A spokesperson for ASN Technology Group said, “I can’t tell you which models we have sold overseas, as that’s secret, but of course we’re interested in exporting them. That’s why we’re displaying them here.”
blog post photoThe new Chinese drones are sure to bring sleepless and tired nights to China’s neighbors as they fear the final nails pounding their coffins closed. China’s neighbors may not be the only countries fearing the ominous sounds coming from the Zhuhai Air Show. Her secret customer base for weapons able to attack from thousands of miles away and, possibly, from outer space, will include some of our most dedicated enemies. It’s time for our sleep walking Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “take their hands off our junk,” and to place them instead into the baggy pants of Chinese drone sales. Who knows what they’ll find down there?

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Thank you!

                                                 China Supplying Arms To Maoists 

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