China Reveals Border Surveillance Drone Unit Armed with Attack, Reconnaissance UAVs

  • Bureau
  • 01:10 PM, September 22, 2022
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China Reveals Border Surveillance Drone Unit Armed with Attack, Reconnaissance UAVs
PLAAF’s drone unit’s armed reconnaissance UAV takes part in training exercise in Northwest China in 2022 @Chinese state media

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has unveiled one of its armed reconnaissance drone units which deploys a range of attack and reconnaissance UAVs.

An armed reconnaissance UAV recently carried out a training exercise from a PLA Air Force base in the desert in Northwest China, in which the drone practiced reconnaissance and attack in a long-endurance flight over a thousand kilometers, state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

This is the first time a drone unit of the PLA Air Force has opened to the press.

“The drone is characterized by its long endurance which makes it possible to grasp a battlefield situation in real time for extended periods, its high adaptivity to the diversity of battlefield environment and targets, as well as its capability to destroy targets on the spot,” Yu Ruichao, chief of staff of the regiment, said in the CCTV report. “Upgrades to the drone's operating system are regularly conducted, which significantly enhance the drone's combat capabilities.”

As the unit improves with the drones, it has put the drone in integration drills with fighter jets, early warning aircraft, helicopters and other drones, so the maximum capabilities of the drone can be reached, the report said. The drone pilots previously flew J-7, J-8 and J-16 fighter jets, but now they fly the drones from the ground in a remote-control station.

The PLA Air Force has publicly displayed the GJ-2 medium altitude long endurance armed reconnaissance drone in past air shows.

“Deployed in the desert region in Northwest China, the drones can carry out missions including border patrol and counterterrorism much more effectively and efficiently than on foot, and it is more cost-effective than using manned aircraft,” a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The PLA also deploys drones in other parts of the country. For example, six types of drones, namely the CH-4, the WZ-7, the BZK-007, the BZK-005, the KVD-001 and the TB-001, were spotted around the island of Taiwan in East China in September, according to the defense authority on the island.

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