Chinese drone
Representative Image.Reuters

China has developed a new hunter drone capable of intercepting small and low flying targets, including small aircraft, according to state media.

The new hexacopter drone, developed under China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, is designed to defuse enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by firing a 16-square-meter web at them, China Central Television (CCTV) reported online on Tuesday.

"Caught by the web, the hostile drone should lose power and fall to the ground," a report on the Chinese military website stated

It added that the drone, capable of performing surveillance and reconnaissance, can be operated in conflict but also in non-combat areas. It can also simulate land-based rocket launchers and radar.

Discussing the popularity of drones in modern warfare, a military expert told state media Global Times on Wednesday that drone technology is much more capable against traditional low-flying aircraft, which are cost-inefficient in new air defence systems. However, "as drones become more popular and common, they bring about more security threats," the expert said.

Stealth target drone LJ-I

The announcement of the hunter drone comes weeks after China exhibited the LJ-I, a stealth target drone at the Russian International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) in Zhukovsky, Russia. The high subsonic target drone is capable of battling against fighter jets including the US deployed F-35 fighters in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chinese military analysts had earlier said that the US is trying to form an "F-35 friends circle" in the region, which has threatened China's national defence.

A Global Times report on the LJ-I stealth target drone revealed that it can fly in formations to simulate actual combat conditions.

In an animated video played at MAKS 2019, a Chinese H-6K bomber released several LJ-I target drones, which flew in formation and attacked a People's Liberation Army (PLA) Type 052D naval destroyer.

"The destroyer was able to detect the drones with its radar system despite them being stealthy, launched missiles to destroy those that came from above, and fired a close-in gun to shoot down one skimming over the surface of the sea," the report stated.