China’s military drones ‘could lead to accidental war’

China’s military drones ‘could lead to accidental war’ as Beijing develops unmanned bombers that can fire without a human pressing a button

  • Beijing has developed an unmanned drone bomber and stealth combat drone
  • A report by a U.S. think tank has warned of an ‘artificial intelligence arms race’
  • Officials fear that drone warfare could ‘lower the threshold of military action’ 

China’s development of military drones could lead to an artificial intelligence arms race and an accidental war, a report has warned. 

Beijing has developed a deadly unmanned drone bomber and a stealth combat drone in recent months, which could be deployed without humans pressing a button. 

A report by a Washington-based think tank has warned that drone warfare would ‘lower the threshold of military action’ because fewer humans were at risk. 

The drone technology would work ‘just like the brain of the human body’ in wartime, the research by the Center for a New American Security found. 

China shows off its latest military drone Wing Loong I-D at last November’s International Aviation and Aerospace exhibition on November 15

Wing Loong I-D is armed with BA-7 laser-guided missiles (pictured). The air-to-surface missile is believed to be one of the most powerful anti-tank missiles in the world 

‘Chinese officials expressed concern that increased used of AI systems would make misperceptions and unintentional conflict escalation more likely due to the lack of well-defined norms regarding the use of such systems,’ the report said. 

‘Most of China’s leadership sees increased military usage of AI as inevitable and is aggressively pursuing it. 

‘China’s behavior of aggressively developing, utilizing, and exporting increasingly autonomous robotic weapons and surveillance AI technology runs counter to China’s stated goals of avoiding an AI arms race.’ 

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Zeng Yi, an executive at a Chinese defence firm, said mechanised equipment would work ‘just like the hand of the human body’. 

‘In future intelligent wars, AI systems will be just like the brain of the human body,’ he said. 

‘Intelligence supremacy will be the core of future warfare. 

Visitors to the Airshow China take pictures of CH-7, China’s newest stealth combat drone. It can fly at more than 500 miles an hour 

CH-7 (pictured) is set to have its test flight next year and will enter mass production in 2022

‘AI may completely change the current command structure, which is dominated by humans to one that is dominated by an AI cluster.’ 

In December China showed off its latest drone bomber, releasing footage of the unmanned aircraft completing its first flight. 

Wing Loong I-D, a type of combat and spy drone, can carry more than 10 different types of weapons and fly up to 35 hours without refuelling. 

The drone is equipped with laser-guided missiles which can destroy tanks as think as 55 inches (1.4m) from as far away as 23,000 feet (7,000m).  

The Blowfish A2, a helicopter drone, can have weapons including an AK-47 or a machine gun installed to increase its firepower. 

Also unveiled last year was CH-7, or Rainbow-7, China’s newest stealth combat drone.

It can fly at more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) per hour at an altitude of 42,650 feet (13,000 metres).  

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