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posted by janrinok on Thursday October 15 2015, @02:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the everyone-wants-one dept.

This article talks about the newest addition to the Iraqi Air Force, a drone. Surely this is unremarkable piece of equipment, we seen it before right? Except upon closer inspection (or by reading TFA, which is less likely) you quickly realize it is not in fact the U.S. made Predator drone, but a Chinese CH-4. The CH-4 is far from a cheap knock-off, but instead is claimed to be superior in every way to the U.S. drone. It sports such revolutionary additions as longer wing-span, bigger payload, and of course "upside down tail thingy."

Is this a story of every increasing proliferation of armed drones around the world, the willingness of some nations to export advance hardware anywhere, or simply a piece about military/industrial espionage? You be the judge.


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:10PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:10PM (#250006) Journal

    I don't want to meet an armed drone.

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  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:16PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:16PM (#250010)

    It takes a lot of infrastructure to operate a drone (securely) at those ranges. The US uses its own satellites to do it. The CH-4 is also controlled via satellite but who's, at what price, and what kind of coverage? I can see an incentive for one country to sell (sophisticated) weapons to another country if those weapons cannot be turned against the seller. It also limits resell because if China doesn't like who Iraq is selling to then they can discontinue the satellite service.

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    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Corelli's A on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:25PM

      by Corelli's A (1772) on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:25PM (#250014)

      The logical next business model for drone marketing: DaaS. No more pesky license key management. Of course, when we say it's "in the cloud," that means something different.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by SanityCheck on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:48PM

        by SanityCheck (5190) on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:48PM (#250036)

        Does the D stand for Drone or Death?

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:38PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:38PM (#250024) Homepage Journal

      No worries about reselling. The Iraqis just drop their weapons, leaving them behind for the terrorists to pick up. Iraq is the New France of the 21st century. DAESH wasn't entirely armed by Iraq, but Iraq gets a lot of the credit.

      FOR SALE: Fifteen CH-4 Chinese drones, slightly used. Only dropped once!

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      • (Score: 3, Touché) by SanityCheck on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:49PM

        by SanityCheck (5190) on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:49PM (#250037)

        Of course, I would say it's US that gets most of the credit, since Iraqi's didn't pay for all that on their own. Your Tax Dollars at Work.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bob_super on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:50PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:50PM (#250039)

        If the Shia government stopped being asses to the Sunni population of Western Iraq, maybe the army there would bother to fight the Sunni insurgents.
        The Iraq army cannot hold those areas because they're considered as either invadors (if Shia or Kurd) or traitors (if Sunni). Just look at the maps of Daesh [ixquick-proxy.com] vs sunni/shia areas [ixquick-proxy.com].

        Daesh is the horrible default choice for the locals, and the defacto government of the sunnis of Iraq and Syria. No amount of drones or bombs can solve that problem until there is a political peaceful leadership for the Sunni minority.
        (which makes it completely unlike 1940 Germany/France)

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 15 2015, @04:44PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @04:44PM (#250066) Homepage Journal

          The thing is, intelligent people knew all of this before we invaded Iraq the first time.

          Also, during the first invasion, we promised the Shia to stand behind them when they overthrew the Baathists. Then we broke that promise, leaving the Shia at the mercy of the Baathists.

          After all of our history in the mid-east, I'm amazed that any Arab, Persian, or North African puts any trust in the US/UK. The one constant in all of the mid-east/western relations has been treachery on the part of the west. The few times that a western or Chritian ruler has kept his word to the people of the region are quite remarkable.

          --
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          • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:11PM

            by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:11PM (#250081)

            You are right. It isn't often talked about but in 1991 we promised to support the southern rebellion against Saddam. Then we pulled out and left them to be massacred. Those people have extremely long memories too. I worked with a Mongolian unit (part of the coalition) and they were constantly harassed by the locals to the point that they could not leave the FOB without an escort.

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            • (Score: 1) by deadstick on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:18PM

              by deadstick (5110) on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:18PM (#250085)

              Those people have extremely long memories

              If we'd been paying attention, the Shia-Sunni schism would have told us that...

            • (Score: 2) by art guerrilla on Friday October 16 2015, @12:55AM

              by art guerrilla (3082) on Friday October 16 2015, @12:55AM (#250349)

              not to mention, how many times is it we've hung the kurds out to dry ? ? ?
              two or three ?
              where we armed them, funded them, incited them, promised we'd always love them, then when the fighting or politics turned sour, we abandoned them to die...

              how many dozens of times has unka sam done that world wide ? ? ?
              um, so they hate us for our freedoms, is it ? ? ?

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tibman on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:01PM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @05:01PM (#250072)

          The pendulum swings both ways. The previous Sunni government under Saddam crushed the Shia pretty hard. The mass graves outside Karbala with tens of thousands of Shia in it are a big motivation to never let the Sunni come to power again. You are right, of course, that if the government was more equal then the Sunni might fight more. But i think the Shia militias of southern Iraq who are fighting to retake Sunni towns in the north is more than good enough incentive.

          I helped recruit and train the southern police and we tried to instill a sense of nationality in them. That their duties extend beyond the borders of their town. I have more faith in the southern police (which includes SWAT) to repel invaders than their national army. I fought the Mahdi army, a southern militia, because they saw the US as an invader (we were). They are certainly not cowards. But because they fought the US so hard back then they are being marginalized now by the US in the fight to retake cities from Daesh. If a Shia militia, a non-government army, retakes the north (while also rejecting US support) then what does that say about the real iraq army (with US support)? Nothing good, that's for sure.

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  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:37PM

    by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 15 2015, @03:37PM (#250022) Homepage Journal

    I do believe this Chinese made drone is better than the equipment that entered service in 1995. My brief search of Wikipedia indicates the most modern decendent of the Predator is the Avenger, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_Avenger [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 2) by Rich on Thursday October 15 2015, @08:29PM

    by Rich (945) on Thursday October 15 2015, @08:29PM (#250200) Journal

    It sports ... longer wing-span

    Well, the name of another Chinese drone gives away that we could expect this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAIG_Wing_Loong [wikipedia.org]