BEIJING ($1=7.23 Chinese Yens) — The air show held in China’s Zhuhai showcased some well-known weapon systems, but also some completely new ones. For example, viewers of China’s state broadcaster CCTV saw, if only briefly, a new salvo system for launching drones.
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The system is mounted on a truck and can simultaneously fire 18 kamikaze drones also known as loitering munitions. Although intelligence reports indicated that such a system was being developed, this was the first time it had been shown to the general public. It is known from Western intelligence reports that China tested a similar system some time ago, but with a salvo launch of a kamikaze swarm of 48 drones.
This report exists as of 2020. It says that the tests were done while the vehicle was in motion and that the drones launched were a total of 200 drones [i.e. several systems].
Experts suggest that reducing the number of drones from 48 to 18 in one system was done to increase the mobility of the vehicle by lightening its weight. Most likely, these drones will be able to perform two main missions on the battlefield: reconnaissance and suicide missions.
Although built to win battles, this system as a whole is well suited for civilian use. For example, guarding and monitoring large production areas at the same time at different points of the monitored area. These can be mining fields, oil fields, refineries, thousands of square meters of heavy and metalworking industry, etc.
Against the background of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, the introduction of such technology is considered significant. The reason is that this war showed the need for drones and their dual effectiveness – reconnaissance, and attack.
There is no specific word on what the drones will be, forming a swarm of 18 salvo-launched drones, but reports from two years ago indicated that tests were being done with the CH-901. These are loitering munitions, and based on their information, a kamikaze drone-launching salvo system would be aimed at ground troops, light armored vehicles, simple fortifications, and other high-value targets such as radar sites.
No vehicle details are available. But, if we go back again to the reports of 2020, then the Chinese People’s Liberation Army uses indigenous 6×6 chassis. As for the drones, it is assumed that they will have V-tail and integrated sensors at the base of the drone. They will most likely have a retractable main wing and a small body.
In the future, the integration of the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter with swarms of drones is expected. Such a technique and tactic are not unusual or foreign. The US and several other countries, including Russia, are making their new fighter jets the command centers of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Many international analysts see the future of drone as much more important than is even currently believed. According to some, what is artillery today will be the drone tomorrow.
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