Chinese drones are emerging as a vital weapon in Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to a new report.
In fact, Britain’s Daily Mirror tabloid is suggesting in a speculative report that mercenaries fighting for Russia are working with Chinese agents to develop swarms of drones that could expand upon the success of drones in the war to date.
A report in the Wall Street Journal said that drones made by China’s Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology Co., more often known as DJI, are flowing from China to Russia directly, sometimes through third-party purchasers, and also indirectly through the United Arab Emirates.
The Journal report was based on sources it did not name. The report said that the U.S. has concerns not only for the Russia-Ukraine war but also for what China gets out of the partnership.
“As DJI and China watch the use of drones in a combat environment, they’re just soaking up data,” the Journal quoted what it called a “senior U.S. security official” as saying.
“They’re able to see the TTPs, the tactics, techniques and procedures,” the source said.
“Because China has the civil-military fusion, they’re able to then put that in the hands of the PLA and learn,” the official said, using the acronym for the People’s Liberation Army.
DJI said it does not support using its products in warfare, noting it does not ship directly to Russia or Ukraine.
“However, as consumer electronics, DJI products can be purchased in e-commerce stores and stores in many countries. We cannot prevent users or organizations from purchasing in countries or regions other than Russia and Ukraine, and then transship or gift them to Russia and Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.
In August 2022, Yuri Baluyevsky, former chief of the general staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, called the Chinese drone favored by Russia “a true symbol of modern warfare,” according to Foreign Policy.
SANCTION CHINA 🇨🇳
“Russia Continues Deployment of Chinese Drones in Ukraine.”
– Wall Street Journal
Pentagon🇺🇸 has said that China would likely conflict with the US by 2025. Better to start crippling the Chinese economy now.
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) February 18, 2023
Faine Greenwood, writing on Foreign Policy, said drones help modern armies “precisely identify targets, taking advantage of relatively cheap drones equipped with hybrid zoom cameras and the ability to send accurate latitude-longitude coordinates back to both centralized command centers and pilots on the ground.”
“At night, drone pilots take advantage of small drones equipped with thermal sensors, devices that are widely used in the civilian world for tasks such as infrastructure inspection, farming, and search and rescue,” Greenwood wrote.
The speculative report in the Mirror, which relied upon sources it did not name, suggested a drone swarm was the next tactical step.
“This swarm drone technology is at the center of the new arms race — and Russia is throwing everything it has at it,” the Mirror quoted what it called an arms expert as saying.
“By using artificial intelligence it could launch a swarm of drones, which would be much harder to defend against,” the source said,
“The swarm would then be able to either feed mass surveillance imagery back to a base in real-time so that it can be targeted or attack with bombs or both,” the source said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.