China’s Academy of Electronics & Information Technology (CAEIT) carried out the test in September 2020. The test involved a swarm of suicide drones also known as loitering munitions. China plans to overwelm its adversaries with operational drone capabilities deployed from multiple platforms. Joseph Trevithick of The Drive writes (abridged):
The China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology (CAEIT) reportedly carried out the test in September. CAEIT is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), which carried out a record-breaking drone swarm experiment in June 2017, involving nearly 120 small fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. Four months later, CAEIT conducted its own larger experiment with 200 fixed-wing drones. Chinese companies have also demonstrated impressive swarms using quad-copter-type drones for large public displays.
We don’t know the name or designation of the drones CAEIT used in its September test, or that of the complete system being employed. However, video footage, seen below, shows that the unmanned aircraft are very similar in form and function to more recent models of China Poly Defense’s CH-901 loitering munition.
All of this seems to underscore that, if the PLA doesn’t have an operational drone swarm capability, is getting ever closer to fielding one. A swarm that can be deployed from multiple platforms, on the surface and in the air, potentially approaching a target area from multiple directions, would give the complete system immense flexibility and resiliency.
Swarms are inherently difficult for opponents to defend against and one of their most obvious applications is to blind, confuse, and overwhelm enemy air defenses.
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