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posted by janrinok on Thursday November 17, @12:55PM   Printer-friendly

From combat clouds to drone swarm attacks, this year's Zhuhai air show demonstrated China's rapid advancements in uncrewed military technologies under President Xi Jinping.

China will "speed up the development of unmanned, intelligent combat capabilities," Xi had pledged in his written report to the Communist Party congress in October, where he began a rare third term at the party's helm.

True to this goal, the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, which ended Sunday, featured an extensive display of cutting-edge weaponry. But it also highlighted some ways that China is falling short, suggesting that it still may take years to build a military that rivals America's in quality as well as quantity.

Defense contractors and civilian companies alike brought to the show a bevy of uncrewed vehicles, from aircraft to tanks, in a wide range of sizes. But unlike last year, they focused not only on the drones' individual capabilities, but also their connectivity to crewed assets and remote command centers.

A concept similar to the "combat cloud" under development in the U.S. was also presented. China appears to be working on better precision-guided weapons, information transfers and sensor capabilities, integrating artificial intelligence into weapons systems to enhance military operations.

China North Industries Group (Norinco) displayed a combat system aimed at minimizing human casualties through the use of interconnected drones, uncrewed tanks, loitering munitions and four-legged transporters. [...]

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