The Chinese Navy Is Betting Big On Its New Submarine Hunting Drones

Chinese Drone

Photo: defence pk

Tackling the long-time nuisance of American submarines off its coastal waters, China is deploying drones to its Navy ships.While not a new development on its own, there are reports of increased drone deployment to the PLA’s ships, and a heightened attack against U.S. drone contractors.

UPI reports Chinese hackers have ramped up their barrage of infected emails to glean as much information about the Pentagon’s UAV strategy and development as they can. 

It’s no secret that the Chinese military is in the habit of copying foreign hardware, and while drone technology was previously limited to the U.S. and its allies — that’s over.

China began developing UAVs in the 1960s just as several American AQM-34G – R models were lost over the Chinese mainland. Spy Flight says one drone was recovered by the Chinese, who maintain they shot it down.

In 1969 China began reverse engineering the drone at the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in an eager bid to figure out the American technology and use it for themselves.

By 1972 the U.S. drone was copied into the WuZhen-5. And when China invaded Vietnam during the war of 1979, China’s first drone was used to successfully collect visual intelligence — a chilling example of how good China is at counterfeiting military hardware.

Dark SwordChina’s Dark Sword

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

But being based on a drone from the 1960s, the Wuzhen-5 is nowhere near as sophisticated as U.S. drones.And that’s why China would be keen to inspect the American RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, which Tehran was able to capture last year.

The “Beast of Kandahar” went down to much Iranian fanfare, and after doubts about the drone’s capture were put to rest by its display on PressTV, questions of how great a loss its capture is to U.S. intelligence continue to linger.

There was speculation in February the drone went down with its data still intact and the folks at DARPA told Wired that there is little doubt the Russians and the Chinese were brought in to help with reverse engineering the advanced American aircraft.

When Beijing gets around to using the Sentinel’s technology in its own fleet of drones, there is little doubt it will be used to patrol China’s vast coastline and maritime territory using the genetic algorithms already employed by its older drones to hunt for submarines.

American subs in Asian waters are a definite burr in Beijing’s saddle and are the one true soft spot in the

China UAV control

Photo: defence pk

Asian nation’s military buildup. The U.S. routinely has 10 forward deployed subs in the world’s oceans at any given time and in the event of Chinese hostilities they would slip into the area as quietly as possible.China’s best defence would be its unique algorithms in a fleet of drones, patrolling the coast, using information from sonar buoys to track the American subs. Whether the Sentinel’s technology will aid the Chines in their efforts has yet to be seen.

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