China’s Drone War

China drone war

China drone war

China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.

China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.

“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.

China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”

Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.

“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.

The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.

Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.

“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.

“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.

It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.

 

Source:  http://freebeacon.com

Drone war is killing non-al-Qaeda leaders

Drones

Drones

Hypothetically, American drone bombings in Pakistan are supposed to be killing off al-Qaeda’s leadership. But in actuality, the strikes kill more people who aren’t in the terrorist group’s command structure.

Council on Foreign Relations fellow Micah Zenko dug up a 2011 assessment, from Pentagon official Michael Vickers, that there were “perhaps four important Qaeda leaders left in Pakistan, and 10 to 20 leaders over all in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” Zenko then compared that number to an average of several estimates of people killed in drone strikes:

Since Vickers’ estimate that there were two dozen al-Qaeda leaders left in 2011, more than two-hundred U.S. drone strikes have killed upwards of 1,200 people — apparently non-al-Qaeda leaders.

Zenko’s comparison makes a very clear point: unless Vickers’s estimate in 2011 was a dramatic lowball, it’s just wrong to say that the drone campaign is narrowly tailored to killing top al-Qaeda officials. It’s killing many more people than that, including hundreds of civilians and, recently, an American and Italian hostage. And even if American drones campaign took out top al-Qaeda officials in the process, it’s genuinely unclear how much that would damage the group.

Source: Vox.com

U.S. Drone War Crimes

The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend

The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend

The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend

NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime. Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders.  A 2007 report by the Homeland Security Institute called double taps a “favorite tactic of Hamas” and the FBI considers it a tactic employed by terrorists. UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns said that if there are “secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime.” The U.S. refuses to discuss the merits of its overtly covert drone program, but the reports featured on @dronestream clearly document that U.S. hellfire missiles have intentionally targeted funerals and civilian rescuers.

Jun 18, 2009: 2 drone missiles killed 1 person. When rescuers rushed to the scene, 2 more struck, killing 8 (Pakistan) nytimes.com/2009/06/19/wor…

— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012

Jun 23, 2009: Up to 80 more people were killed when several US drones targeted a funeral (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2009…

— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012

Jan 6, 2010: Shortly after the first strike, as the rescue efforts were underway, the death toll rose to 15 (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2010…

— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012

Apr 16, 2010: Missiles fired from US drones killed 4 in Tolkhel, hitting a car and people rushing in to help (Pakistan) google.com/hostednews/afp…

— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 12, 2012

And that’s only a 10-month window in Pakistan. It has happened in Afghanistan as well, and the first instance of “explicit intelligence posthumously proving” that an innocent civilian had been killed happened in Yemen. In September the NYU and Stanford law schools released a report detailing how double taps by U.S. drones affect the Pakistani population, and noted that “high-level” militants killed only accounted for two percent of U.S. drone strike casualties.

Iran copies captured US RQ-170 Sentinel drone

Iran unveils ‘indigenous’ drone with 2,000km range:

Iran unveils 'indigenous' drone with 2,000km range

Iran unveils ‘indigenous’ drone with 2,000km range

Iran has unveiled what it says is a new “indigenous” long-range unmanned drone capable of flying over most of the Middle East, state media report. The Shahed (Witness) 129 had a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles) and could be equipped with bombs and missiles, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said. It is reportedly capable of carrying out reconnaissance and combat missions. Last year, the Iranian authorities displayed a US drone which they claimed to have brought down electronically. The US insisted that Iran neither shot down the the RQ-170 Sentinel nor used electronic warfare or cyber-technology to force it from the sky. They blamed a malfunction. Later, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace programme, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said it was trying to build a copy of the drone. It is not clear whether the Shahed 129 bears any resemblance. Defences ‘ready’. The unveiling of the drone follows a major naval exercise in the Gulf by the US and its allies.

Iranian TV images of downed drone. 8 Dec 2011
Iran refused to return the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone it captured in December 2011. Thirty countries participated in the manoeuvres designed to test the international community’s capacity to deal with mines that could hamper shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supply is transported. The exercises took place amid heightened tensions between the West and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. On Monday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was not concerned by the threat that Israel could launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists,” he told reporters in New York. “We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves.” He also ignored a plea by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for both sides to avoid “incendiary rhetoric” by saying the modern state of Israel had “no roots” in the Middle East and would eventually be “eliminated”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iran was only six or seven months from having “90%” of what it needed to make a nuclear bomb, and urged the US to draw a “red line” which if crossed would lead to military intervention. Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

Chinese drones to monitor islands

China seeks drones to monitor islands:

China seeks drones to monitor islands

China seeks drones to monitor islands

China said Monday that it plans to use unmanned drones to conduct marine surveillance by 2015 as it tries to increase its presence around uninhabited East China Sea islands at the center of a dispute with Japan. While still years away, the planned deployment comes as relations between the sides continue to be roiled by fury in China over the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands this month from their private Japanese owners. As part of efforts to contain the fallout, Japan on Monday dispatched a vice foreign minister to meet with his Chinese counterpart for talks on the state of relations between the countries. Li Mousheng, a spokesman for China’s State Oceanic Administration, said the decision to deploy drones followed a successful test Sunday. He offered no details on the test, but cited state media reports that said China aims to have drones and monitoring bases in place by 2015. The reports didn’t say when the drones would be deployed around the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. China has been aggressively developing unmanned aircraft for both civilian and military purposes, with missions ranging from guiding missile strikes to monitoring grain crops. Chinese outrage over the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands sparked days of sometimes violent street protests in scores of cities around China. Numerous informal boycotts of Japanese products have been launched and China has dispatched government marine monitoring vessels to patrol around the islands. Taiwan, which has an overlapping claim, has registered a formal protest. On Monday, several dozen Taiwanese fishing boats set out for the islands from the east coast port of Suao in what was being termed an apolitical protest to protect access to traditional fishing grounds.