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English>>China Military

Drones to conduct nation's sea surveys

By Miranda Shek in Shangha (Global Times)

14:11, August 30, 2012

China's coastal provinces will deploy unmanned aircraft to carry out marine surveillance, with trial operations expected to wrap up successfully by the end of this month. Maritime experts said the new technology will help monitor pollution and protect resources along the coast.

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced Monday that 11 coastal provinces will each set up a strategic airbase for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Each airbase will be equipped with at least one drone for maritime surveillance, the maritime authority said.

It is a first for China's maritime surveillance, said Yu Qingsong, the coastal division director of the SOA.

"Coastal development activities are increasingly important for China's economic growth, and the demand for sophisticated maritime surveillance has grown," Yu said.

"We adopted satellite and wave estimation technologies in the early 1990s. The new UAVs will help step up our monitoring efforts."

He added the UAVs can monitor coastal activity, including land reclamation and off-shore drilling.

Real-time data fed from UAVs is more accurate. UAVs can also be deployed in adverse weather conditions and cover much larger areas than wave stimulation machines, Yu said.

The Liaoning provincial marine patrol center launched the pilot UAV program late last year, mainly to monitor the coastal areas of Dalian, Jinzhou and Panjin, covering an area of 980 square kilometers.

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