China Scrambling to Build Its Own Drones

The rest of the world is eager to catch up to US
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 12:22 PM CDT
A model of a Chinese-made unmanned drone aircraft is displayed at International Aerospace Technology and Equipment Exhibition Thursday July 5, 2007 in Shanghai, China.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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(Newser) – The showstopper at this year’s Zhuhai air show in China doesn’t need a pilot. Visitors were shown a video of the WJ-600 drone finding and transmitting targeting info on something that looked suspiciously like a US aircraft carrier near an island that looked suspiciously like Taiwan, the Washington Post reports. It’s one of a host of new drones cropping up around the world, aiming to ape the wildly successful drones the US is using in the Middle East.

“The United States doesn’t export many attack drones, so we’re taking advantage of that hole in the market,” said a representative from Chengdu Aircraft. The company expects sales to Pakistan, the Middle East, and Asia. Iran is developing drones, too, and Israel has sold some to Russia and China. In response, the US is looking into loosening its controls on drone sales. For now, US drones still reign supreme, but one think-tank fellow warns against getting cocky. “The Chinese are catching up quickly.”

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