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Chinese Announce Anti-Drone Laser System

Though purported system is designed from small-scale drones, 'similar laser security systems with greater power and range' are also under development

As drones proliferate, so do the systems designed to neutralize them. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, second from left, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera second from right, and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, shake hands before the Japan-U.S. 2+2 meeting in Tokyo, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. ( Photo: Koji / AP)

In a world increasingly populated by drone aircraft, systems designed to counter such machines are increasingly on the mind of world governments.

Weapon developers in China have announced the successful testing of a 'laser defense system' designed to target and destroy small-scale drones, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

In a statement released Sunday by the China Academy of Engineering Physics, cited as one of the system's co-developers, the laser system is able to "shoot down various small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius and can do so in five seconds after locating its target."

The report in Xinhua boasted that the system has had a 100 percent success rate in trials, shooting down "more than 30 drones" during testing.

According to the report, this system would be used for anti-terrorism efforts inside the country and to destroy unauthorized "low-flying" drones that pose a threat to public safety. However, the report also noted that the developers are working on "similar laser security systems with greater power and range."

Though the existence of the system nor its true capacity could not be independently verified, the news of the anti-drone system also has clear foreign policy implications for Beijing. In addition to the increased use of aerial drones worldwide, the United States specifically has been ramping up the size of its fleet and expanding the range of their deployment.

Last year, for example, the U.S. announced its intention to bring a fleet of long-range surveillance drones to bases in Japan. The move was readily seen as an attempt to increase pressure on China and other nations while expanding U.S. spy capabilities and military presence in the Pacific region.

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