17 December 2015
After more than a decade of fighting in Iraq, the names of the American-made drones striking targets there have become familiar: Predator, Reaper, Sentinel.
But this month, a new model entered the fray: the Chinese-made Caihong-4.
According to footage released by the Iraqi armed forces, soldiers used the Chinese drone on Dec. 6 to destroy an ISIS position amid efforts to retake the city of Ramadi. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense confirmed the video was real.
The lethal strike represents a major step forward in China’s drive to become a leading exporter of military equipment, experts say. Iraq is the only known export user of the drone, also known as the CH-4, which closely resembles the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.
Its first use in combat may be a selling point for potential buyers.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of a Chinese drone, such as the CH-4 (which is basically a clone of the Reaper), reporting an actual kill, and I suppose it would be cliché to say that it won’t be the last,” Richard A. Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, wrote in an email on Wednesday.
Mr. Bitzinger estimated that Iraq’s armed forces had to buy six to 12 Chinese drones to conduct operations efficiently.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/12/2015