Chinese Reportedly Fly First Stealth Drone

I wrote about
a number of European nations that have formed a
“drone club,” which aims to develop UAVs that can compete with
American and Israeli drones. In the same post I briefly mentioned
the Chinese Wing Loong drone, which bears some resemblance to the
American Predator drone, leading some analysts to conclude that
Chinese espionage may have played a role in its development.

Today, there is more drone news. According to Chinese state
, the Chinese flew a stealth drone for the first time
yesterday, the latest example of Chinese military development,
which U.S. officials believe is changing the security situation in
the Pacific. The most recent annual report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review
(USCC), released on Wednesday, says the following
(PLA stands for “People’s Liberation Army”):

PLA modernization is altering the security balance in the Asia
Pacific, challenging decades of U.S. military preeminence in the

The U.S. is understandably wary of recent Chinese military
developments, especially given American military presence and
diplomatic obligations in Asia and the Pacific. The USCC report
highlighted the Hongzha-6K bomber, which the Chinese air force
received in June, that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and
of reaching Guam.

From the USCC report (LACM stands for “land attack cruise

In June 2013, the PLA Air Force began to receive new Hongzha- 6K
(H–6K) bomber aircraft. The H–6K has an extended range and can
carry China’s new long-range LACM. The bomber/LACM weapon system
provides the PLA Air Force with the ability to conduct conventional
strikes against regional targets throughout the Western Pacific,
including U.S. facilities in Guam. Although the H–6K airframe could
be modified to carry a nuclear-tipped air-launched LACM, and
China’s LACMs likely have the ability to carry a nuclear warhead,
there is no evidence to confirm China is deploying nuclear warheads
on any of its air-launched LACMs.

The ongoing dispute between
China and U.S. ally Japan over uninhabited islands puts the U.S. in
an awkward position. Last year,
I wrote
on how Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at
the Australian National University, believes the U.S. could get
dragged into whatever conflict that could result from this
territorial conflict escalating.

Last month, a
The New York Times
wrote an article on White and the views
he outlines in his book
The China Choice: Why America Should Share Power
White believes that conflict between the U.S and China is a
possibility if China and the U.S. continue to try and assert
themselves as the dominant power in the Pacific:

If the two countries continue to compete for primacy in the
Pacific, a new Cold War — or worse, an open conflict — will be the
result, he says. Many American analysts agree that conflict between
China and the United States is possible, maybe increasingly likely.
But few buy the argument that the United States is losing ground to
China and must consider a power-sharing arrangement to avoid

“The strategic rivalry between the United States and China is
driven by their different and incompatible roles in the region,”
Mr. White said during a recent visit to Beijing, where he spoke to
several academic groups, including a generally favorable audience
organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “The principal
aim of the United States is to preserve American primacy in Asia.
China conversely wants, as a minimum objective, at least an equal
role with United States. Primacy for the United States, equality
for China — they are inherently incompatible.”

It of course remains to be seen if the far-from-ideal
relationship between China and Japan will drag the U.S. into a new
conflict. But if it does, China’s recent military developments will
ensure that the conflict will be quite different to the sort of war
the U.S. has been waging since the beginning of the 21st

For more from on China and drones here and here.

from Hit & Run

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