China: PLA deploys new hand-thrown reconnaissance drone
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has a new hand-thrown drone in its arsenal, and experts said the human-sized fixed-wing aircraft has enhanced imaging devices and will greatly boost basic combat units' reconnaissance capability, Liu Xuanzun reports in The Global Times.
New PLA's hand-launched drone (Picture source from CCTV video)
The drone is now in service at a brigade of the 83rd Group Army of the PLA, Weihutang, a column affiliated with China Central Television (CCTV), reported on 3 April. The report did not reveal the designation of the drone.
Compared to previous hand-thrown drones used by the PLA, the new one is equipped with new reconnaissance equipment, which includes optical and infrared imaging devices, and a new skid landing gear, the report said. The report did not provide further details on the drone specifications.
Many major military powers already have hand-thrown drones in service, as this type of aircraft has played an important role on battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past, the Weihutang report said, mentioning the example of the hand-thrown AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven. Such drones are easy to carry and can be deployed by a small team when a small scale tactical reconnaissance is needed.
China has a wide variety of drones of different sizes, aerodynamic designs and functions, including the Wing Loong armed reconnaissance drone, the Cloud Shadow high-altitude drone as well as the CH-7 stealth combat drone, which is now in development.