HERE COME THE DRONES

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Chi­nese drone op­er­a­tions in­volve both pre­set flight pat­terns and re­motely pi­loted drones, Col. Wu said.

“The lat­ter mode is new, and it gives a UAV of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and it brings up the pos­si­bil­ity of ‘counter-UAV com­bat op­er­a­tions’ — cut­ting, jam­ming, even im­plant­ing some­thing to con­trol its link,” the Peo­ple’s Daily said.

Pre­par­ing for drone war­fare is a pri­or­ity for air com­bat, Col. Wu said.

The re­port stated that Iran’s down­ing of a U.S. stealth RQ-170 drone in 2011 “showed clearly that Iran knows how to take over that UAV’s con­trol link” and land the air­craft.

Some U.S. of­fi­cials sus­pect China as­sisted Iran with the cap­ture of the RQ-170.

Col. Wu said drone war­fare is shift­ing from purely re­con­nais­sance mis­sions to in­te­grated re­con­nais­sance and at­tack.

Last month, Chi­nese state tele­vi­sion in­tro­duced China’s “Rain­bow” se­ries of drone air­craft dur­ing a Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Air Show.

“China’s Rain­bow se­ries UAVs have be­come big­ger and big­ger in size, heav­ier and heav­ier in take­off weight, and more and more com­plete in model and spec­trum,” China’s CCTV said in a Sept. 28 re­port.

“In terms of ap­pli­ca­tion, China’s UAVs have formed a rel­a­tively com­plete sys­tem, de­vel­op­ing from var­i­ous re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance func­tions to a re­con­nais­sance-strike in­te­grated func­tion.”

Shi Wen of the China Academy of Aero­space Aero­dy­nam­ics, which de­vel­oped the new drone, said Rain­bow-3s and Rain­bow 4s are equal to U.S. Preda­tor UAVs.

The Rain­bow-3A is fit­ted with two AR-1 anti-tank mis­siles.

China is build­ing 11 bases for drones along its coast­line and re­cently flew drones over the dis­puted Senkaku Is­lands. Ja­pan has threat­ened to shoot down drones that fly over the small islets owned by Tokyo but claimed by China.

China is pre­par­ing its mil­i­tary to con­duct war­fare with of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive spy­ing and at­tack drones, ac­cord­ing to a Chi­nese colonel.

Sr. Col. Wu Guo­hui dis­closed “se­crets” about China’s plans for un­manned air­craft con­flict last week with the state-run Peo­ple’s Daily, the of­fi­cial news­pa­per of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

Col. Wu, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at China’s Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity and an air force spe­cial class avi­a­tor, said drones will be­come a “ma­jor force” in fu­ture air com­bat, ac­cord­ing to the Oct. 17 re­port.

He stated that coun­ter­ing of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (UAV) op­er­a­tions is be­com­ing a new form of air war­fare. The colonel said Chi­nese J-7 fight­ers re­cently shot down two en­croach­ing, high­alti­tude re­con­nais­sance drones fly­ing at an al­ti­tude of about 59,000 feet. He did not elab­o­rate.

The U.S. Air Force op­er­ates RQ-4 Global Hawk long-range re­con­nais­sance drones that are known to be spy­ing on China. sup­plied Rus­sia with a copy of a U.S. mil­i­tary drone, and a U.S. con­trac­tor re­vealed to In­side the Ring that the drone was likely stolen from a U.S. sup­ply con­voy in Afghanistan last year.

Ac­cord­ing to the con­trac­tor, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, the deal be­tween Afghan smug­glers and Iran’s Qods Force, a spe­cial unit of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards, took place in the sum­mer of 2012 in Afghanistan and was worth more than $1 mil­lion.

Iran’s state-run Fars News agency re­ported Mon­day that the Ira­nian mil­i­tary sup­plied Rus­sia with a copy of a U.S. ScanEa­gle drone that re­port­edly was cap­tured and dis­as­sem­bled by Iran in 2012.

The ScanEa­gle is a small drone launched from the ground or by ship launch­ers that pro­vides video im­ages used in mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions.

Fars said the drone has been re­verse en­gi­neered and that one of the re­motely pi­loted air­craft was given to Moscow as a “gift.” The trans­fer was first re­ported by the Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con.

An in­tel­li­gence re­port from Afghanistan states that the drone sale be­tween Afghan smug­glers and an Ira­nian Qods force agent was com­pleted in Au­gust 2012.

The re­port was taken from a con­voy used to send mil­i­tary sup­plies to U.S. forces in east­ern Afghanistan and sent by truck in its crate to western Farah Prov­ince and then across the bor­der into Iran.

The drone was in­spected by the Qods agent, who was iden­ti­fied as “Hashemi,” in July 2012 in Gardez in Ku­nar Prov­ince. He was dis­ap­pointed that the drone was not larger, the re­port said.

The deal was ar­ranged by an Ira­nian iden­ti­fied as “engi­neer Latif” in Gazni Prov­ince. He had the drone shipped to Iran by truck, prob­a­bly through a cross­ing point in Nim­roz Prov­ince where Afghan po­lice are known to co­op­er­ate with Ira­nian smug­glers. The Ira­nian side of the bor­der there is con­trolled by the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards Corps, which in­cludes the Qods Force.

A Pen­tagon spokes­woman had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

Guard Corps Brig. Gen. Farzad Es­may­eeli was quoted by Fars as say­ing — af­ter a meet­ing in Tehran with vis­it­ing Rus­sian Air Force Com­man­der Lt. Gene. Vik­tor Bon­darev — that “the drone built by the [Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards] is a sym­bol of the tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Is­lamic Iran and to­day we pre­sented a real

model of it as a gift.”

PRNEWSFOTO/IN­SITU PA­CIFIC

Iran’s state-run Fars News agency re­ports that the Ira­nian mil­i­tary sup­plied Rus­sia with a copy of a U.S. ScanEa­gle drone sup­pos­edly cap­tured by Iran in 2012.

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