When I hear the phrase "knock-off Chinese products", I usually think of either the bootleg DVDs I get on the subway or the cheap electronics I get in Midtown. But a new report in Defense Professionals notes that the Chinese military has channeled that same skill for replication towards closing their UAV technology gap. By simply copying US technology, China has created a stock of advanced drones, and gained the technical knowledge to create some interesting native UAVs as well.
The story lists most of China's major UAV programs, most of which simply knock off successful American UAVs like oh so many cheap copies of Crank 2 or Louis Vuitton handbags. They claim that the Yi-long reconnaissance drone is nothing more than a xerox of our Predator, with the Xiang-long and WuZhen-2000 drones copying the Global Hawk.
However, the article also notes that despite the pervasive replication of US technology, the Chinese military has also developed some interesting indigenous drone technology. In particular, the Dark Sword drone seems unlike anything the American military fields today. The Chinese describe it as the "future of Chinese unmanned combat aviation," and emphasize the high maneuverability, stealth features, and air-to-air combat specialization.
Considering how badass that Dark Sword UAV sounds, maybe the US should think about copying it. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
[via Wired's Danger Room]
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