China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), a Chinese state-owned company, released a 58-second video of the test-launch of a barrage of 48 attack drones on Tuesday.
The video shows the drones, deployed on launchers fitted on a light tactical vehicle, swiftly unfold their wings in the air after being launched and then fly towards the intended target. The video also shows the drones being launched from a helicopter.
The test, conducted last month, was reportedly to check the launch of China’s land-air coordinated fixed-wing UAV “swarm” system.
The drones reportedly carry high-explosives warheads, capable enough of destroying tanks and other armored vehicles. They are intended to overwhelm the enemy’s defenses.
Chinese-languaged news website Duowei News reported that the purpose of the test was to demonstrate the whole gamut of abilities of the system, including the rapid deployment, intensive launching, hovering and launching in the air, maneuvering launching, and precise formation.
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In 2018, China displayed a launch vehicle with eight CH-901s drones, which would be launched one at a time, according to Forbes.
The CH-901 is a suicide drone that can hover over a target for 40 minutes and beams back video for the operator to locate a target, and then swoops down to hit it.
The latest test, on the other hand, reportedly takes a step forward and demonstrates the swarming technology where the operator just designates the target and all the drones fly together to hit the target, without colliding.
The present system is reportedly based on a special chip, a “multifunction processing unit for swarm intelligence,” which the makers (CETC) announced last October. The chip includes a complete flight control system, mission planning, intelligent decision-making, and dynamic networking between drones, as well as the ability to recognize targets and other objects.