China has integrated “hidden technology” into its military drones to prevent enemies from using them to attack Beijing’s territories, according to South China Morning Post, citing a source close to the military.
The device reportedly allows combat and reconnaissance drones to recognize an “electric geofence” enveloping China’s borders.
When the geofence is detected, the technology will prevent Chinese-made drones from entering the country and attacking vital military and commercial assets.
According to the source, the capability is now declared in instruction books and being followed by Chinese drone manufacturers.
“This is the so-called watchdog tool, which is a simple technology aimed at making sure Chinese exported drones are not used by enemies as weapons to attack our country,” they told the outlet.
Prioritizing National Security
Military expert Li Jie said incorporating “watchdog” technologies into military drones only shows that national security remains a top priority for Chinese drone developers.
It can also be considered “common knowledge” since unmanned systems are often sold overseas.
“All drones need to be guided by positions connecting with the US-owned GPS or China’s BeiDou navigation system, so it should be very sensitive to longitude and latitude data…” he explained.
Li further claimed that some drones equipped with the technology may have the ability to self-destruct when approaching the Chinese border.
Confirming Previous Reports
The report about integrating a hidden technology into Chinese drones appears to confirm earlier rumors that Beijing’s unmanned systems “turn around” when approaching China.
In an interview with EurAsian Times, Baykar chief executive officer Haluk Bayraktar accused the Asian superpower of placing hidden restrictions on drones it ships to other nations.
He also said that the “subpar performance” of Chinese drones had caused some foreign customers to turn to Turkish systems instead, like the Bayraktar TB2 medium-altitude long-endurance drone.