China says it has developed a new hunter drone that can disable other drones — or even small aircraft — by firing a 16-square-meter (172 square feet) web at them.
“Caught by the web, the hostile drone should lose power and fall to ground,” said a report on the Chinese military’s English-language website.
Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, the drone can work alone but also can integrate with China’s defense system for small, slow and low-flying targets, according to the report.
The hexacopter drone can also perform surveillance and reconnaissance, it said.
This is the second drone advance announced by China in recent weeks. At an airshow in Russia in August, China displayed the stealth-capable LJ-I, a target drone it says will help the People’s Liberation Army Air Force prepare for any potential combat with the F-35 stealth fighters deployed by the US and its partners in the Pacific.
Designed for target practice, the LJ-I can be flown in formations to simulate actual combat conditions, according to the report on the state-sponsored Global Times.
A video played at the airshow showed a Chinese bomber releasing several of the LJ-I drones, which then simulated an attack on a PLA Navy destroyer.
“The destroyer was able to detect the drones with its radar system despite them being stealthy, launched missiles to destroy those that came from above, and fired a close-in gun to shoot down one skimming over the surface of the sea,” the Global Times report said.
China is a world leader in drone technology, especially smaller, low-cost ones, a fact acknowledged by the Pentagon recently when it set up a program to seek investors in making American counterparts.