29 January 2018
China’s biggest private courier company has been drafted by the Chinese military to help deliver on unmanned emergency missions.
State-run Xinhua news agency reported that SF Express drones took part in People’s Liberation Army Air Force exercises in the southwestern province of Yunnan and in northwestern Shaanxi province, as the military explores new kinds of logistics support.
In the Yunnan drill, a company drone delivered urgently needed spare parts for a damaged radar in a rugged mountainous area in about an hour after the request was made, less than half the time it would have taken to truck in, the report said.
Collin Koh, a military specialist at the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the exercises showed China had caught up with the world’s leading drone makers, but personnel shortfalls would hinder military applications.
“My concern would be the crew training – whether the [unmanned aerial vehicle] pilots are able to manoeuvre and operate the drone safely, especially if it’s a large one designed for transport, which means also it may be used for ferrying ammunition and the hazards of a drone meeting an accident over a populated area can be high,” Koh said.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 30/01/2018