Some military observers in China believe the country’s emerging drone technology could someday be weaponized and used in ‘swarms’ to overwhelm large conventional platforms like U.S. aircraft carriers.
The so-called ‘drone battalion’ concept was unveiled by the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corp at an air show in June. It envisions 119 combat-ready drones equipped with sensors and the ability to communicate with each other; currently, tests involving strike groups numbering 1,000 drones is underway, officials CETGC said.
Swarms of military drones may be able to carry missiles or warheads once load restraint issues are resolved.
However, state-run Chinese media is refuting such a concept. Experts noted that American carriers are well-protected by a number of surface combatants and supply ships, not to mention submarines.
“So in order to carry out an attack, these drones will have to be delivered, for instance, by stealth fighters, within close range of a carrier, risking being shot down midway, and, what’s the point of using drones when these fighters can launch attacks themselves when they are this close [to the carrier],” an expert was quoted as saying. [source]
(Analyst comment: Quickly, China would downplay this, of course, if proof-of-concept trials are really underway.)
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