WASHINGTON: China has ramped up its research in drone technology and is in the process of building armed, jet-propelled unmanned planes, which it plans to sell to countries like Pakistan.
Though much of this work remains secret, the large number of drones at recent exhibitions underlines not only China’s determination to catch up in that sector – by building equivalents to the leading US combat and surveillance models, the Predator and the Global Hawk – but also that its desire to sell this technology abroad, a media report has said.
“No country has ramped up its research in recent years faster than China. It displayed a drone model for the first time at the Zhuhai air show five years ago, but now every major manufacturer for the Chinese military has a research center devoted to drones,” the Washington Post recently said quoting Chinese analysts.
Not only the Chinese are trying to make state of the art armed drones, they are also eyeing the international market. “The United States doesn’t export many attack drones, so we’re taking advantage of that hole in the market,” said
Zhang Qiaoliang, a representative of the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, which manufactures many of the most advanced military aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army.
“The main reason is the amazing demand in the market for drones after 9/11.”
According to the daily, Pakistan has said it plans to obtain armed drones from China, which has already sold the nation one for surveillance.
As per Aviation Industry Corp of China, it has begun offering international customers a combat and surveillance drone comparable to the Predator called the Yilong, or “pterodactyl” in English.
Zhang, of the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, said the company anticipates sales in Pakistan, the Middle East and Africa.