China’s military, the PLA, belongs to the largest users of UAV’s, unmanned aerial vehicle, according to a new report, seen by defense analyst Wendell Minnick. “More UAV research-and-development centers complete comprehensive product testing and move into mass production,” he writes in Defense News.
According to the report, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fields one of the world’s most expansive UAV fleets. The report estimates there were more than 280 UAVs in service as of mid-2011. This number will increase significantly as more UAV research-and-development centers complete comprehensive product testing and move into mass production.
A preliminary survey of probable units indicates that UAVs are spread across every service branch of the PLA. While unconfirmed, the report’s authors conclude that the General Staff Department and the Second Artillery Corps, responsible for strategic and tactical missiles, are in command of high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs, while the PLA Air Force, Navy and ground forces oversee UAV units that focus on tactical and training missions.
“UAV systems may emerge as the critical enabler for PLA long-range, precision strike missions within a 3,000-kilometer radius of Chinese shores,” the report states. “Emphasis on reducing the radar cross-section of new UAV designs indicate[s] an intent to survive in contested or denied airspace.”
This week, on Thursday 14 March, the China Weekly Hangout will focus on the media in Hong Kong. In the 1990s they were a beacon of hope, and Hong Kong one of few global news capitals. With Paul Fox of the HKU we will discuss the state of Hong Kong media. You can read our announcement here, or directly register at our event page.
- China-North Korea: no policy change expected – Wendell Minnick (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- Russia moving forward on China fighter deal – Wendell Minnick (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- Asia’s growing market for OPV’s and UAV’s – Wendell Minnick (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- China plans with its bombers – Wendell Minnick (chinaherald.net)