Beijing: With the border standoff between India and China at Line of Actual Control in Ladakh set to enter its seventh month, China has shortlisted nearly two dozen private companies to supply advanced unmanned weaponry and graphene clothing to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiments deployed at LAC.
The wish list of PLA includes smart warm clothing made of graphene, a revolutionary form of carbon, the discovery of which led physicists Andra Geim and Konstantine Novoselov to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 and also they are looking for advanced logistics support equipment like portable solar chargers, portable oxygenators, and a multifunctional dining vehicle, reports claimed.
The world’s largest military force, according to a report by Hindustan Times, is expanding procurement from traditional suppliers, China’s state-owned enterprises, and buying specialized equipment from niche manufacturers.
The private companies, some of them based in south China and specialised in drone technology, are known to manufacture vertical takeoff and landing unmanned vehicles, which can operate at high altitudes.
PLA rarely discloses the names of private companies from which it plans to procure military equipment.
The PLA’s Tibet Command invited 22 private “arms companies” and held meetings to review their products to be potentially used during “plateau warfare and border defence”, a Beijing based news organization Global Times reported.
“Many types of rotor-wing and fixed-wing aerial drones, including the Blowfish A2 helicopter drone developed by Zhuhai-based Ziyan UAV and the CW-25 vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing drone made by Chengdu-based JOUAV, were inspected by the PLA,” China Central Television reported.
They are specially designed for use in high elevation, low-temperature regions, to conduct unmanned missions including material supply, border defence, and management, “…surveillance and armed reconnaissance along the border of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the report mentioned.
According to an online tech magazine, Dailytechlife, as an item of cloth, graphene can be “thermal, waterproof, and fireproof” and have other advanced technical properties not normally associated with the cloth.
Meanwhile, the USA’s Defence Department in its annual report on China said that “PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) long-term goal is to create an entirely self-reliant defense-industrial sector—fused with a strong civilian industrial and technology sector—that can meet the PLA’s needs for modern military capabilities”.