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Drones help PLA detect enemy behind walls

(Global Times)    09:20, January 09, 2020

Special operations soldiers assigned to the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) breach a door in pursuit of a sniper from the simulated opposing force during the counter-terrorism training on December 24, 2019. Soldiers from five detachments in Red River Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province under the Chinese People's PAP participated in the week-long training in southwest China. Photo:China Military

Chinese troops are now equipped with portable reconnaissance drones, giving them a significant tactical advantage, including enabling them to shoot enemies behind walls.

A scout battalion of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) 80th Group Army is now operating the drones, as they have been deployed in recent training, according to a China Central Television (CCTV) report on Monday.

This type of drone can be used in a two-person-sniper group - one shooter who concentrates on aiming, and one spotter who provide extra information with the aim.

Traditionally, the spotter is tasked with reporting information like wind speed, humidity and battlefield circumstances to the shooter, who will then calculate the ballistic for the shot. But with the drone, the spotter can see more than both troops can see.

This type of small drone, which resembles a commercial quadcopter, can be carried in a backpack and easily deployed on the battlefield.

When an enemy hides behind a wall, the spotter can release the drone and fly it with a controller, which has a large monitor on it, according to the CCTV report.

The spotter can maneuver the drone to an angle where it can see the location of the enemy. But the drone cannot fly too near, as the enemy might notice, CCTV said.

The spotter will then tell the shooter to shoot at a specific spot on the wall. This spot will be described in a way that the shooter can understand based on the situation: If it is a brick wall, it will be described by rows and lines.

Equipped with an anti-material sniper rifle powerful enough to shoot through walls, the shooter will then blow the target away together with the wall.

Bu Minghui, a scout at the 80th Group Army, said on CCTV that it is challenging to identify the target and requires a very high tacit level between the two.

This tactic is very advantageous on the battlefield, especially in urban warfare and counter-terrorism operations, a military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting the usage of drone results in an information asymmetry.

Since drone technology is spreading very fast, China should also be prepared to counter this tactic by raising situational awareness and equipping anti-drone devices, the expert said. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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