China’s Revolutionary Drone Strategy: Replacing Special Ops Agents by 2035

PLA's Ambitious Plan for UAV Dominance

In a groundbreaking move, the Chinese military, specifically the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is shifting its focus to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a bid to replace human agents in special operations. This development, blending cutting-edge technology with strategic military operations, marks a significant turn in how approaches conflict and espionage.

The Growing Role of UAVs in Military Operations

The world of espionage and military operations, often dramatized in films like James Bond, faces a new era of realism as China moves towards using drones for complex missions overseas. Unlike the invincible agents on screen, real-life operations carry inherent risks for special forces.

This shift to , led by PLA's 78092 unit in collaboration with scientists in Chengdu, aims to mitigate these risks by developing sophisticated UAVs capable of executing tasks with precision and stealth, reports the South China Morning Post.

The envisioned drones boast impressive capabilities: long-range flight, underwater travel, and extended periods of surveillance. They are designed to strike targets swiftly and then retreat undetected, a feat not achievable by human agents. This strategy aligns with China's policy of non-interference, as the UAVs can operate without directly involving Chinese personnel in foreign affairs.

A Hypothetical Future Scenario: The Year 2035

The PLA's theoretical operation, set in 2035, details a conflict with a neighboring country where drones play a pivotal role. To minimize costs and prevent escalation, the military operation involves limited equipment, focusing on small arms and UAVs. The scenario describes a mission to attack a key command hub using drones that can navigate river depths and launch torpedoes, while also flying low to avoid detection. The drones' advanced capabilities allow them to assess damage post-strike and pursue fleeing enemies, ensuring complete mission success.

China's Revolutionary Drone Strategy: Replacing Special Ops Agents By 2035 2

China's Drone Development Strategy: A New Arms Race

China's approach to UAV development takes inspiration from the US military but aims to surpass it. The PLA intends to dominate the UAV sector by leveraging its vast civilian drone manufacturing capabilities. The goal is not just technological superiority but also numerical advantage and cost-effectiveness, potentially leading to financial strain on competitors.

China's Path to Military Innovation

The PLA's special ops drone project is already underway, with more innovative equipment expected as China strives to meet its defense needs. This initiative reflects a strategic shift towards unmanned operations, setting the stage for a new era in military technology and warfare. By replacing human agents with drones, China is not only enhancing the safety of its personnel but also redefining the landscape of international military operations.

Images are for illustration purposes only.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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