A fierce drone and missile attack on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia has sent shockwaves throughout the world — the fact it was so easily done and so effective, has chilling implications.
No wonder then, that Chinese military observers turned their attention to the threats from drones, saying on Monday China has a full range of countermeasures, including detection and interception systems, Global Times reported.
Ten drones attacked the oil installations, damaging facilities that process the vast majority of the country’s crude output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
An anonymous Chinese military expert told the Global Times surprise was the key to the attacks’ success. “If they had deployed a well-conditioned defense system, they would at least not suffer such a huge loss,” the expert said.
Drones, especially those with small, slow, low-flying characteristics, are difficult for traditional air defense systems to detect and intercept, so new systems must be developed to counter them, experts told the Global Times.
China has already developed complete systems to counter drone attacks, so similar attacks would find it difficult to succeed in China, especially on strategic facilities key to national security, military observers said.
To detect these smaller drones, in addition to more capable and extra numbers of radar installations, other technologies, including infrared detection and radio environmental monitoring that track the control signal of the drones, could be used, the expert said, noting that after a drone is detected, it can be shot down by traditional guns, missiles and newly developed laser weapons, or it can be jammed through jammers.
State-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) has developed a counter-drone system consisting of multiple weapons and equipment, including land-based rockets and drone-hunting drones that can shoot huge webs and vehicle-based detection devices, the China Central Television reported earlier this month.
China also has rifle-shaped counter-drone devices, which “shoot” jamming signals that will disrupt drones, bringing about either a forced landing or divert an intruding drone, a Shanghai-based weapons manufacturer told the Global Times.
At Airshow China 2018, CASIC showcased a vehicle-based laser weapon called LW-30, which could use a directional-emission high-energy laser to quickly intercept many kinds of aerial targets, such as photoelectric guidance equipment, drones, guided bombs, and mortars.