HERE COME THE DRONES
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.”
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.