Drone Wing Loong da China infographic
A infografia mostra o drone de combate armado Wing Loong e os países que têm comprado drones chineses.


Corrida aos drones de combate

By Duncan Mil

March 22, 2021 - A estatal chinesa Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) está a exportar drones de combate para zonas de conflito em todo o mundo, motivando acusações de que alimenta uma corrida aos armamentos. A AVIC é agora o sexto maior exportador de armas do mundo.

Before 2011, just three countries had armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) -- the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel. Now, China is fast becoming a leading global arms supplier, with combat drones leading its foray in arms sales to autocratic regimes.

The U.S. has used drones to attack Al Qaeda, Islamic State, al-Shabaab, the Taliban and Iran. Turkey has deployed combat drones against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Nigeria against Boko Haram, and Azerbaijan against Armenian tanks and artillery in last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reveals that 16 countries obtained armed drones from China between 2010 to 2020. Saudi Arabia heads the list with 55 drones, mostly CH-4s and Wing Loongs. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed with 40 UAVs.

China’s drones have two big selling points -- they’re cheaper than comparable aircraft from producers in the U.S. or Israel, and China doesn’t monitor their use.

Between September 2016 and March 2021, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition lost 22 drones shot down by Houthi forces in Yemen’s skies. Since August 2019, the UAE has lost 10 Wing Loongs over Libya while supporting the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

PUBLISHED: 22/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News