Combat drones in China are coming to a conflict near you

March 19, 2021
Growing sales of the aircraft threaten to spark a global arms race, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

BEIJING - A dozen years into its fight with the Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram, Nigeria is getting some new weapons: a pair of Wing Loong II drones from China. The deal is one of a growing number of sales by state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC), which has exported scores of the aircraft. The United Arab Emirates has used AVIC drones in Libya’s civil war, Egypt has attacked rebels in Sinai with them, and Saudi-led troops have deployed them in Yemen. The company’s drones “are now battle-tested,” says Heather Penney, a fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, a think tank in Arlington, Va. “They’ve been able to feed lessons learned back into their manufacturing,” reports Bloomberg BusinessweekContinue reading original article.

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

March 19, 2021 -China's DJI has long been a dominant player in civilian UAVs in America, with more than three out of every four sold in the U.S. coming from the privately-held company based in Shenzhen.

AVIC is taking aim at dominating the military UAV market as well. According to Bloomberg, AVIC sold more than $22 billion in military equipment in 2019. In the decade between 2010 and 2020, China has delivered 220 military drones to 16 countries, led by 55 to Saudi Arabia. Of the 18 countries that are known to have received drones, the top 12 all purchased from China, with the 13th country (the United Kingdom) buying six UAVs from the U.S. Those figures do not include purchase agreements on non-delivered UAVs, however, as then-President Trump's administration agreed to sell 18 MQ-9 Reaper drones to the UAE, four to Taiwan, and four to Morocco.

Related: Highly impressive lineup of Chinese air combat drone types caught by satellite

Related: Global UAV market to reach $2.3 billion by 2023, as AVIC of China is poised to become world's largest aerial drone maker

Related: Chinese navy deploys new VTOL UAV

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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