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Emerging Trends in China's Development of Unmanned Systems

Emerging Trends in China's Development of Unmanned Systems

2018-07-11

In August 2014, a Chinese business publication reported that commercial use of UAVs could expand dramatically in the next several years as more Chinese companies enter the market.

Current developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) trace their beginnings to World War I. Efforts during the Interwar Period, World War II, and afterward ultimately led to the development of cruise missiles such as Harpoon and Tomahawk, aerial targets, and the current family of UAVs.

Unmanned systems are attractive because of advantages such as improved performance, increased ability to take risk, and potential cost savings.Chinese journal articles and media reports highlight many of these potential advantages.Indeed,recent U.S. military operations have demonstrated the utility of unmanned systems, a development that has been closely watched by the PLA, and Chinese analysts clearly see unmanned systems as valuable in a variety of scenarios. Cost savings are also an attractive reason for China to pursue unmanned systems.It is therefore not surprising that China has made substantial investments in the development of unmanned systems in recent years.

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