Special forces and scout units within China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) appear to be increasing the use of small reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to help them locate and engage potential targets.
Images posted by the PLA-sponsored China Military Online website show PAP special operations soldiers using a small quadcopter-type UAV during the ‘Demon’s Week’ counter-terrorism training exercise held in southern China in late December 2019.
It seems that the photographed UAV can be carried in a backpack – as part of the spotter’s equipment – and easily deployed on the battlefield. The UAV is controlled using a two-handed controller that includes a small flat panel display. It is possible that the UAV is also provided with some form of automation.
Meanwhile, an 8 January report by the state-owned Global Times newspaper stated that similar UAVs are being operated within the PLA’s 80th Group Army, with at least one scout battalion having deployed such a UAV in recent training. Citing a report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), the paper stated that such UAVs could also be used by sniper pairs, with the platform enabling the spotter to conduct reconnaissance of an enemy position.
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