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China Unveils Reconnaissance Drone With Precision-Strike Capability to Boost Defense at India Border

© Photo : Global Times/twitterThe PLA Air Force unveiled one of its armed reconnaissance drone units based in Northwest China
The PLA Air Force unveiled one of its armed reconnaissance drone units based in Northwest China - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2022
The use of sophisticated drones in the PLAAF’s border security operations is expected to rise in the near future, Chinese military experts have told state media. Many of these unmanned drones are flown by former fighter jet pilots.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has unveiled a multi-capability unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has the capability to operate at a range of nearly 1,000 kilometers.
“As a new combat force of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), the indigenous drone can perform all-around reconnaissance and precision strikes,” a statement from China’s Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday evening.
In a video released by the Defense Ministry, the new drone can be seen carrying out drills from a PLAAF base in northwestern China. Further, state media reported that the new drone unit also practiced “long-endurance” flight over a thousand kilometers.
The CCTV has underlined that this marks the first instance where a drone unit of the PLAAF has been unveiled to the press.
As per experts cited by state media, the new drone will play an “important role” in patrolling the border and carrying out counter-terrorism operations. The drones can conduct border patrolling in a more cost-effective and efficient manner than manned fighter jets, as per military experts.
Experts also reckoned that drones will be deployed in “integration drills” along with fighter jets, early warning aircraft, helicopters, and other drone types. The drones are reportedly being flown by fighter pilots who previously flew J-7, J-8, and J-16 jets.
The PLAAF is known to deploy drones not only along the western and northwestern frontiers, but also along the maritime boundaries in the eastern region. Taiwan has reported sightings of of several types of PLAAF-operated drones in September.
The unveiling of the new drones comes as Beijing is embroiled in a border dispute with India along its western frontier. While the Indian and Chinese troops “completed disengagement” and “dismantled military infrastructure” this month at the Gogra Heights-Hot Springs area, a friction point in the Ladakh border standoff which erupted in April-May 2020, thousands of troops from each side are still involved in tense standoff at two other friction points.
Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that the border situation with China was still “not normal.”
Tensions have also been high in the Taiwan Strait after a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei last month. In response to Pelosi’s provocative trip, the PLA conducted its largest-ever live-fire and ballistic missile drills in six regions around Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province that is destined to reunite with the mainland.
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