Dawn of the Drone Wars
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
China has been quietly and aggressively going after drone technology. Between drones and space warfare, such as the ability to kill satellites, China is preparing heavily for confrontation with the US. They join a new axis of evil with Russia and Iran and the atomic clock is ticking.
From The New York Times:
BEIJING — For almost two years, hackers based in Shanghai went after one foreign defense contractor after another, at least 20 in all. Their target, according to an American cybersecurity company that monitored the attacks, was the technology behind the United States’ clear lead in military drones.
“I believe this is the largest campaign we’ve seen that has been focused on drone technology,” said Darien Kindlund, manager of threat intelligence at the company, FireEye, based in California. “It seems to align pretty well with the focus of the Chinese government to build up their own drone technology capabilities.”
The hacking operation, conducted by a group called “Comment Crew,” was one of the most recent signs of the ambitions of China’s drone development program. The government and military are striving to put China at the forefront of drone manufacturing, for their own use and for export, and have made an all-out push to gather domestic and international technology to support the program.
Foreign Ministry officials have said China does not sanction hacking, and is itself a victim, but another American cybersecurity company has tracked members of Comment Crew to a building of the People’s Liberation Army outside Shanghai.
China is now dispatching its own drones into potential combat arenas. Every major arms manufacturer in China has a research center devoted to drones, according to Chinese and foreign military analysts. Those companies have shown off dozens of models to potential foreign buyers at international air shows.
China has already deployed a drone in disputed waters off of Japan. They are now considering using them against criminals as the US is doing. They have stealth combat drones, as well, already up and running. So, while Obama continues to gut and weaken US armed forces, China, Russia and Iran are massively beefing up. China is not shy about hacking in and stealing our technology — using cyberespionage at every opportunity. But, as the Clinton Administration gave them our technology, I suspect this one is, too.
Estimates say the US now has a fleet of about 7,000 drones and China’s is second to that. I don’t believe that. I believe that both Russia and China now have superior numbers to ours by substantial amounts. Certainly, it is where they spend the bulk of national funds — about 124 billion. While the Obamas are vacationing, our enemies are girding their loins for WW III. The US would have lousy odds in Vegas right about now.
The Chinese military, with its constant focus on potential war over Taiwan and an eye on China’s growing territorial disputes, is at the vanguard of preparing drones for use in maritime situations. That is unlike the United States, which has used drones to hunt and kill suspected terrorists and guerrilla fighters, mostly in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
American drones “are not designed to enter into contested or denied air space,” Mr. Easton said. “So they would be unable to fight in any conflict with China.”
China, on the other hand, is building drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles, precisely to operate in contested spaces. “It’s a very useful instrument for safeguarding maritime sovereignty,” said Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and director of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. “China will gradually step up its use of U.A.V.’s in this area.”
Chinese strategists have discussed using drones in attack situations if war with the United States were to break out in the Pacific, according to the Project 2049 report. Citing Chinese military technical material, the report said the People’s Liberation Army’s “operational thinkers and scientists envision attacking U.S. aircraft-carrier battle groups with swarms of multimission U.A.V.’s in the event of conflict.”
Chinese drones are now showing up in other countries’ arsenals – countries who hate the US specifically. They make them better and cheaper than the US does. The Chinese version of the Predator, the Wing Loong, or Pterodactyl, was first exported in 2011, according to the People’s Daily. At the Paris Air Show in June, the president of a Chinese aeronautics company told the Global Times that the drone could carry two laser-guided missiles and was the equal of the Predator in endurance and flight range, but was much cheaper. The dawn of the drone wars is here and the US has been caught flat-footed and off guard once again.