China is likely to deploy its first plateau-focused unmanned helicopter along the Indian border. The helicopter is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions and electronic disruption at high altitudes.
China's first domestically-developed unmanned plateau-focused helicopter, which made its maiden flight recently, is likely to be deployed along the Indian border, Global Times reported citing analysts.
According to a report in the state-run news outlet, the AR500C unmanned helicopter is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions, communication relay, electronic disruption and fire strike at high altitudes.
The helicopter is developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). It is China's first unmanned helicopter designed to fly in plateau areas. The AR500C can take off at an elevation of 5,000 meters above sea level and has a ceiling of 6,700 meters. It can operate at a maximum speed of 170 kilometres per hour and has a maximum takeoff weight of 500 kilograms.
The unmanned helicopter does not need a long airstrip to takeoff like traditional fixed-wing drones. This makes it more flexible in terms of deploy capabilities, Chinese air defence expert Fu Qianshao told the Global Times.
The report comes amid escalating tension between India and China along the border. Reports suggest that Chinese has bolstered its presence in Galwan Valley of in eastern Ladakh by erecting around 100 tents in the last two weeks and bringing in heavy equipment for construction of bunkers, notwithstanding the stiff protest by Indian troops.
In the midst of the escalating tension, Army Chief General MM Naravane paid a quiet visit to the headquarters of 14 Corps in Leh on May 22 and reviewed with the top commanders the overall security scenario in the region including in the disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control — the de-facto border between India and China.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to "disengage" following a meeting at the level of local commanders. Over 100 Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in the violence.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.Last week, local commanders of both the sides held at least five meetings during which the Indian side took strong note of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) erecting a large numbers of tents in areas in Galwan Valley which India felt belonged to its side of the LAC.