China’s state-owned defence contractor is developing stealth and near-space drones.
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (Casic), the country’s largest missile maker, and believed to be the only manufacturer of cruise missiles in China, has said the process has already begun to develop drones which are capable of evading anti-aircraft weapons and sophisticated radar systems.
“As military reforms are drastically changing armed forces around the world, drones have become an indispensable weapon in modern warfare because they can play an important role in high-resolution reconnaissance, long-distance precision strikes, anti-submarine operations and aerial combat,” Casic’s deputy general manager Wei Yiyin, who is also a member of a high-profile Chinese national committee, told the China Daily.
China has been engaged in ambitiously modernising its military and coming up with new weapons systems in order to assert itself in an increasingly fragile global order.
Still, Beijing has been emphasising that none of these steps are for offensive purposes but are purely defensive in nature.
Beijing’s increased military spending has become a major cause of concern for its adversaries both in the region and outside as they worry China’s growing territorial assertions could only make the situation worse.
Wei added that the long-endurance stealth-technology drones would be developed as part of Casic’s 13th five-year plan that started in 2016. He added that the high-tech defence manufacturer also has “plans to make multipurpose, stealth target aircraft used for training”.
Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) is focusing on the development of a long-endurance stealth drone and a near-space drone.
The company also plans to make multipurpose, stealth target aircraft used for training, he said.
Unlike other Chinese drones, which resemble fixed-wing planes with landing gear, all CASIC drones resemble a cruise missile.
The company is the only producer of cruise missiles in China.
CASIC’s drones are launched from a vehicle and retrieved after descending by parachute, the report said.
The newest WJ-600A/D has an ultrafast cruising speed of 700 km/h, while other Chinese drones can reach only 280 km/h as their top speed.
Earlier this month, China’s Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute said its latest combat drone which made its maiden flight recently is comparable to US’s MQ-9 Reaper.
The missile and may turn out to be a “biggest export deal” for the country, the chief designer of unmanned aerial vehicle had said.
A yellow prototype of the Wing Loong II conducted a 31-minute test flight from an unidentified airport in northwestern China on Monday, the institute said.