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Russia and China Are Now Building Weapons Together

Dave Majumdar

Security,

Should America be worried? 

Russia and China are drawing closer together as Moscow faces further isolation from the West. Indeed, the two great powers are starting to co-develop new weapons systems. One such example is a new drone that would be launched from a multiple launch rocket system.

"Joint experimental design work with the Chinese side is underway," Tecmash Research and Production Group deputy CEO Alexander Kochkin said at the ArmHiTec-2018 exhibition on Friday according to the TASS news agency.

While cooperation between Russia and China is booming, Moscow is very much a junior partner to a fast-rising Beijing even if the two sides present it as an alliance of equals.

“Both countries present this as a partnership of equals. But yes, for now, its still Russia selling advanced weapons to China,” Sam Bendett, a researcher at the Center for Naval Analyses, told The National Interest.

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China, for example, is more advanced in the development of unmanned aircraft than Russia. However, it is still Moscow that is selling its hardware to Beijing.

“What is interesting is that we have not seen any Chinese sales of their UAVs to Russia - even though China is ahead of Moscow in using combat UAVs,” Bendett said. “This particular partnership again reinforces the flow of weapons to China, not the other way around.”

Indeed, as Kochkin noted, the Russian military has no interest in the company’s drone. That is mostly because the Russian defense ministry has not developed a concept of operation (CONOPS) for these machines. The fact that the Chinese are interested suggests that Beijing is ahead of Moscow in developing a combat doctrine for UAVs.

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