Chinese Reportedly Fly First Stealth Drone

Credit: lt.cjdby.netCredit: lt.cjdby.netYesterday, 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 media, 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 Commission (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 region.

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 missiles”):

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.

Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Rush/wikimediaCredit: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Rush/wikimediaThe 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 war.

“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 century

For more from Reason.com on China and drones here and here.

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  • AlexInCT||

    Stealth drone? Yeah, we have us a problem...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Turn that frown upside down, Alex. I've been informed by the most reliable of sources that droanz are teh awesome. The stealthiness of this one is just an added bonus. Being surveilled/bombed is so much better when you don't know it's happening.

  • ||

    WTF, Hugh, everyone knows that the Chinese are just building stealth drones to assist in their viral Tsingtao marketing campaign. These drones will sneak up on unsuspecting people drinking Rolling Rock or Heineken and drop Tsingtao on them so that they might learn the error of their ways. The funniest videos will be on youtube.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Tsingtao is pretty good. I had a professor in undergrad who talked about it all the time because he met his wife on the island of Tsingtao.

  • ||

    Tsingtao is proof that letting Germany annex all or part of your country (for a time, of course) is a good thing.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Thanks to it's stealthiness, no one can see how badly it is driven.

  • fish_remote||

    Or the turn signal that blinks over half the hemisphere without the drone making a turn.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Or that fact that it blows through traffic signs looking confused.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Jesus, you guys are fucking racists. I was simply referring to the fact that communists tend to be bad drivers.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I;m just saying that stealthy jets are inscrutable!

  • Rhywun||

    This is why there are no Chinese libertarians...

  • ||

    Isn't there speculation that FoE is asian? We could speculate further that he's Chinese.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Was it from that time he called himself "El Tigre Chino"?

  • ||

    Please tell me that's a thing that really happened? I've just seen occasional references to someone speculating he's asian.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Please tell me that's a thing that really happened? I've just seen occasional references to someone speculating he's asian.

    Sorry, just a random Senor Chang reference.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Isn't there speculation that FoE is asian?

    You're just saying that because he's excessively punctual.

  • Swiss Servator, kirsch anyone?||

    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.

    I thought Guam had already tipped over?

    /Hank Johnson

  • sarcasmic||

    Cheap Chinese crap is cheap. Meh.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Will it be piloted by Sum Ting See Crit?

  • sarcasmic||

    Ho Lee Fuk

  • AlexInCT||

    No, I bet it will be Sum Ting Wong...

  • Dave Krueger||

    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.

    Yeah, the U.S. is always getting "dragged" into wars.

  • Snark Plissken||

    It's not the US's fault the world keeps getting lippy.

  • Swiss Servator, kirsch anyone?||

    STOP RESISTING?

    /World Police

  • Jon Lester||

    No one actually lives on those two islands in dispute, so this is world court stuff, in my view, and certainly not worth our raising any stakes for.

    As for Guam, I hope to live there for a while, in the next couple years, to establish my Asia-Pacific office. I'm really not worried about getting nuked there.

  • Not an Economist||

    It is not the land but the minerals rights everybody wants. I believe there may even be oil in the area.

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