Chinese Drones Are Going to War All Over the Middle East and Africa

In the summer of 2019, China’s exported killer drones attained new notoriety—in both the dubiously positive and unquestionably negative sense. The cheap unmanned aircraft have proliferated across the Middle East and North Africa, executing hundreds of deadly attacks in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Yemen. But at least one type of “knock-off Reaper drone” seems beset by reliability issues.

While every military on the planet is adopting long-endurance surveillance drone, until recently only a small subset possessed Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAVs) capable of launching lethal attacks. This is because—until 2018—Washington tightly restricted export of its MQ-9 Reaper UCAVs through its conventional arms transfers (CAT) policy for fear of how they might be misused.

By contrast, China and Israel have few qualms about who buys their drones, or how they’re used. SIPRI records indicate China exported 163 UCAVs to thirteen countries 2008–2018 compared to fifteen MQ-9s delivered. Americans arms manufacturers... read more at: