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Ear to the Ground

Hacking of U.S. Exposes China’s Plan to Manufacture Drones

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Posted on Sep 21, 2013
Asitimes (CC BY 2.0)

A truck loaded with the Chinese-made ASN-207 drone aircraft takes part in a military parade in Beijing in 2009.

Hackers in Shanghai spent the last two years pursuing plans for the technology behind the United States’ most advanced military drones, targeting at least 20 foreign defense contractors in all.

“I believe this is the largest campaign we’ve seen that has been focused on drone technology,” said Darien Kindlund, manager of threat intelligence at the cybersecurity company FireEye, based in California. “It seems to align pretty well with the focus of the Chinese government to build up their own drone technology capabilities.”

The Chinese government and its military leaders have been striving to put China at the forefront of drone manufacturing for their own use and for sale on the international market. Sources say the government has made an all-out push to collect technology at home and abroad to support the program.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The New York Times:

China is now dispatching its own drones into potential combat arenas. Every major arms manufacturer in China has a research center devoted to drones, according to Chinese and foreign military analysts. Those companies have shown off dozens of models to potential foreign buyers at international air shows.

Chinese officials this month sent a drone near disputed islands administered by Japan; debated using a weaponized drone last year to kill a criminal suspect in Myanmar; and sold homemade drones resembling the Predator, an American model, to other countries for less than a million dollars each. Meanwhile, online photographs reveal a stealth combat drone, the Lijian, or Stealth Sword, in a runway test in May.

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