China may soon deploy ‘unmanned helicopters’ in Ladakh: Report

Amid the escalating tensions between India and China over Ladakh border, armed forces personnel from both the countries have meanwhile dug up for the punishing winters ahead and beefed up the stocks and supplies for a long haul along the disputed border.

Militaries from both India and China have been quick to harness the time to develop new tactics and conduct trials of their equipment, news organisation EurAsian Times reported.

China’s PLA, keen to expand its drone fleet and utilise it in the new environment, has successfully tested the new AR-500C unmanned helicopter in Tibet.

The successful completion of the testing of the AR-500C would mean that the force is one step closer to its induction, it being the only UAV in PLA’s arsenal capable of taking off from an elevation of 5,000 meters and having a flight ceiling of 6,700 meters.

The drone boasts a maximum speed of 170 kilometres per hour and a maximum takeoff weight of 500 kilograms. It conducted its maiden flight in Jiangxi province in Eastern China on May 20th earlier this year and performed a series of manoeuvres displaying its unmatched capabilities.

While its main missions are reconnaissance and communication relay, but when equipped with additional devices, it can also conduct an electronic attack, target indication, fire strike, cargo delivery and nuclear radiation and chemical contamination reconnaissance, according to AVIC statement.

Quoting reports, the report said that AR-500C is equipped with a powerful engine and specially designed rotors which can be able to withstand the light aerial conditions of Tibet and Ladakh. The concept of this UAV, as with many other Chinese systems, is said to be taken from a similar American drone MQ-8 Fire Scout.

ALSO READ: Amid ‘disengagement’ claims meetings between India-China yield no results

Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army heavily deployed its troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh’s Chushul district, which was followed by Indian Army changing its positions from “border management” to “border securing,” a Hindustan Times report read.

China has been deploying fighter and bomber aircraft to its bases in Tibet ever since tension over Ladakh started rising in May, The Week reported.

Earlier, China demanded that India withdraw its armed forces personnel from China-India border in order to avoid escalation of tensions.

China has reportedly built surface-to-air missiles near a lake, which is a part of the Kailash-Mansarovar.

On August, 31, Indian army informed that Chinese troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” near Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, and they were blocked by the Indian armed forces personnel manning the area, the government said.

A Brigade Commander level Flag Meeting was later held at Chushul to resolve the issues, as per the Government of India situation update.

As New Delhi claims that both India and China will “continue to sincerely work towards complete disengagement” of armed forces personnel, talks aimed at resolving the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, has so far yielded no results.

A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh had said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.

The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir.

When India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.

This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.”

This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.


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