【Focus】Behind the news of foreign military drones closely monitored by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) media

Author: Wenhong
Translator: Christine
Editor: Claire

Image source: c4isrnet

Recently, the Military Watch section of the CCP’s media, People’s Daily Online, published two articles about foreign military drones consecutively. The first article was U.S. Army’s “Drone Mothership” project suffered nine consecutive failures  on December 14, 2020, and the second article was Future anti-drone operations from the Naka conflict on December 10, 2020. The first article reported the failure of theU.S. Military’s Drone Mothership project’s, while the second explored drone attacks in the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  At first glance, they belong to the military technology discussion; but look closer, it is way more than that.

Drone warfare began with the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Israel succefully used targeted drones to lure Egypt into launching anti-aircraft missiles and exhausting its air defences. The U.S. military then used drones in the Gulf War and counterterrorism, and later in the beheading of Taliban leader and Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Suleimani. The U.S. military drones then became world-renowned.

For the CCP, the use of drones is the essence of a mixed blessing. The good news is by 2020, DJI, which stands for Da-Jiang Innovations and is a Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong with manufacturing facilities throughout the world, will have captured 80% of the world’s sales in the civilian drone market. In contrast, CCP military drone exports have performed poorly, with the Rainbow 4 drone being shot down several times in the Middle East, discontinued in Iraq, and resold in Jordan. Since Mr Miles Guo’s revealed the beheading of Zhongnankeng, a mock name of Zhongnanhai, where CCP’s important agencies locate; early December, Lude media pointed out that the ultimate battle will be scheduled for April 2021, the prominent leaders of the CCP have always been cowering and paid close attention to foreign military drone,which are the signs of guilt.

Image source: DefenseNews

As the first article in People’s Daily Online, US Dynetics is responsible for the development of the air transport mothership, which will eventually be built as an aerial reconnaissance and strike platform, with the goal of achieving “intelligent swarm” attacks or reconnaissance of enemy targets by dropping and retrieving drones in large quantities.  From November 2019 to October 28, 2020, the test was repeatedly met with failure. In the latest test, the transporter tried to extend its mechanical arm to dock with the drone in the air and thus grab it back into the cargo bay, but it failed nine times in a row. According to the U.S. technological development capabilities, there is no doubt that achieving final success is not difficult. Imagine a drone mothership dropping multiple drones at tens of thousands of meters to perform reconnaissance or decapitation operations; after completing the mission, it retrieves the drones in predetermined airspace with significant operational efficiency. The CCP is probably  secretly delighted at the temporary failure of the project.

Image source: DayDayNews Turkish drones that made a statement in the Naka conflict

And the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict mentioned in the second article refers to the military conflict that erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the NK region from September 27 to November 9, 2020. During that period, by using drones’ particular advantages for ground reconnaissance strikes, the Azerbaijani military destroyed over a hundred American tanks and even destroyed the deployed anti-drone systems and several surface-to-air missile systems.The drone’s significant presence in the NK conflict has touched the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and PLA  is thinking of anti-drone warfare in the future. There are two main ideas,

One strategy is a traditional thinking. Establish a high-precision, all-round, multi-level radar detection system and thoroughly combined with infrared, satellite, and other detection methods, early detection of drones; through electromagnetic interference and other means to block the connection between drones and satellites, they can not locate or deviate from the course; moreover, confuse the enemy drone attack by the false targets which are made of cheap materials. But none of these methods are creative.

Image source: Sohu PLA Microwave Weapons

Another strategy is contemporary. PLA may use laser and microwave weapons to counter drones; or use small weather warfare to counter enemy drones. At present, worldwidely, only the U.S. Raytheon Company  has shot down drones with high-powered laser and microwave weapons in 2019 test, while the CCP’s program of using laser and microwave weapons against drones should remain on the drawing board.

However, the CCP is good at using microwave weapons, which use microwave high-frequency electromagnetic wave characteristics of the development of weapons, mainly for electronic warfare and information warfare. Its long-range can be used to interfere with military targets and weapons optoelectronic equipment. Known as the Rules of the Game of the new concept of weapons, they can kill the enemey within a close range. In November 2020, Professor Jin Canrong, who works for the Renmin University of China, stated that to expel the Indian troops in the Sino-Indian border conflict, the PLA used microwave weapons to irradiate the hilltop of Banging Lake, so that the Indian forces became nauseous, vomited, lost their operational capability, and eventually they were expelled, without firing a shot. This was because under the high energy electromagnetic wave irradiation, human skin can be burnt from inside, which cause severe tissue damage and lead to death.

Image source: Free Asia U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou

In the National Academy of Sciences report, which was released on December 6, 2020, the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou personnel suffered from audio harassed and mild brain damage. Experts reported that the injured employees experienced extrem high intracranial pressure, dizziness, and cognitive difficulties. Other symptoms are most reasonably explained by “directed pulses of radiofrequency energy” caused by microwave radiation. The injuried group of consular staff in Guangzhou occurred between 2017 and 2018; similar cases which had more than 20 victims happened to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.

Furthermore, what are the weather warfare mentioned in the CCP’s media? According to Wikipedia, weather warfare (weather weapons) refers to weather modification techniques to achieve military objectives. The U.S. used weather warfare in the Vietnam War. between 1967 and 1968, in order to stall Viet Cong logistical supplies, the U.S. Operation Popeye used cloud seeding on the Ho Chi Minh Trail to increase rainfall by about 30 percent.

The world’s significant powers researching weather weapons are the United States, China, and Russia. The CCP is investing the most in research. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, December 4, 2020, CCP government is planning to rapidly expand its climate change program to more than half the area of India and hoping to expand the artificial rain and snow program to at least 2.1 million square miles (5.5 million square kilometers) of land by 2025. To create a new weather regulation system on the Tibetan Plateau, which is Asia’s largest freshwater reserve, Chinese scientists are working on a Tianhe project to move water vapor northward from the Yangtze River basin to the Yellow River basin, where it will turn into rainfall.

The Guardian suggested that such attempts to hydro-engineer the sky could ease the shortages in drought-stricken northern China but could exacerbate the problems in Southeast Asia and India, if it affects the Mekong flow, Salween or Yarlung Tsangpo rivers. The report discussed that the CCP government is using meteorological technology for civilian purposes. According to National Geography,  2019,“the most sacred river is drying up”. National Geography suggested  that the river has been receding for years; local activists are blaming on the unsustainable mining, appart from that, should CCP’s weather weapons also be blamed?

Back to the drones in the NK conflict, the PLA found that meteorological conditions affected the AAF’s drones’ operational efficiency. Therefore, purposefully proposed creating localized areas of heavy rain, high winds, lightning, and other adverse weather,  could effectively limit the use of enemy drones. April, 2020, please do not be surprised if there is a Jiangnan plum rain (continuous rain in May and June every year), a summer gale, or perhaps a winter haze in Beijing City.

Thus, it seems that the CCP media is highly concerned about the development of  foreign military drone. On side, worried by the leading U.S. drone technology, and on the other side, confident about its super-limited warfare strength. Due to the lack of hard technological power in the CCP, they have been experimenting with weapons for asymmetric warfare, which includethe laser and microwave weapons mentioned above. FYI,  Asymmetric Warfare refers to operations conducted by asymmetric means, unequal forces, and unconventional methods ( Baidu.org). As a typical asymmetric warfare,we can think of the CCP virus (COVID-19) that ravaged the world, which came and went without a trace but could strike President Trump and Mayor Giuliani with targeted precision. In light of this, the international community must be acutely aware that the CCP’s evil  is beyond human imagination. Its self-confidence stems from the kidnapping of 1.4 billion compatriots. And that its behavior has no bottom line, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) coalition must take precautions once the ultimate battle begins.

(The content of this article represents the views of the author only)

References list:

1, The U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Mothership project suffered nine consecutive defeats     

http://military.people.com.cn/n1/2020/1214/c1011-31965415.html

2、Future anti-drone warfare from the Naka conflict http://military.people.com.cn/n1/2020/1210/c1011-31961996.html

3, The first nine attempts to retrieve swarms of Gremlins drones failed

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/12/11/the-first-nine-attempts-to-retrieve-swarming-gremlins-drones-failed-heres-whats-next/

4, Warning to buyers: Why China’s cheap military drones are so cheap

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/caveat-emptor-why-chinas-cheap-military-drones-are-so-cheap-132822

5, China plans to rapidly expand its weather modification efforts   

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/03/china-vows-to-boost-weather-modification-capabilities

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