Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In this modern world of ours

New technology spreads much more quickly than before. And that speed is illustrated by the Chinese and their plan to use drones and navigation.
It was one of the most brutal assaults on Chinese citizens abroad in recent years. Naw Kham, a member of Myanmar’s ethnic Shan minority and a major drug trafficker, was suspected in the killings.

A manhunt by the Chinese police in the jungles of the Golden Triangle produced no results, and security officials turned to a drone strike as a possible solution.

China’s global navigation system, Beidou, would have been used to guide the drones to the target, Mr. Liu said. China’s goal is for the Beidou system to compete with the United States’ Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glonass and the European Union’s Galileo, Chinese experts say.

Mr. Liu’s comments on the use of the Beidou system with the drones reflects the rapid advancement in that navigation system from its humble beginnings more than a decade ago.

The experimental navigation system was started in 2000 and has since expanded to 16 navigation satellites over Asia and the Pacific Ocean, according to an article in Wednesday’s China Daily, an English-language state-run newspaper. The Chinese military, particularly the navy, is now conducting patrols and training exercises using Beidou, the newspaper said.

As an example, China Daily quoted the information chief at the headquarters of the North Sea Fleet, Lei Xiwei, saying a fleet with the missile destroyer Qingdao, along with the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng, entered the South China Sea on Feb. 1 using the Beidou navigation system to provide positioning, security and protection for the fleet.

As China has been vastly improving its navigation system, it is also making fast progress with drones, and many manufacturers for the Chinese military have research centers devoted to unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a report last year by the Defense Science Board of the Pentagon.

Two Chinese drones, apparently modeled on the American Reaper and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, were unveiled at the Zhuhai air show in November. A larger drone that Western experts say is akin to the American RQ-4 Global Hawk is also known to be in the Chinese arsenal.

One of the Chinese drones, the CH-4, had a range of about 2,200 miles and was ideal for surveillance missions over islands in the East China Sea that are the subject of a dispute between China and Japan, an official with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said at the Zhuhai air show.
And I wonder what scruples the Chinese may have about blowing up people, foreign and domestic.

I can see the day when successful criminals have entire fleets of their own small drones flying in a 24/7 air support/surveillance bubble much like aircraft carrier groups do.

Hmm, might get interesting going to the bank soon.

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