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Sneak peek at China's scary new drone

Behold the Wing Blade, a sign that China has made great strides in developing stealth drones.

It hardly comes as a surprise, but China is moving full-force ahead with its drone technology.

Back in August, China debuted a surveillance drone the size of a pizza pan. It wasn't so much the drone itself or the level of technology it came equipped with (high-def camera) that caused eyebrows to raise.

More from GlobalPost: Lookout! China's got drones.

It was, rather, the signal that China had entered the race, and that the competition between countries to make more and more advanced drones was likely to reach new heights in the months to come.

Now, we've got some proof. Pictures are circulating in the aviation world of the Dragon's latest minion. Meet Wing Blade:

(Picture from Flightglobal)

Wing Blade and another drone called Crossbow signal that China has made serious progress in making stealth drones.


Did Iran hack into a CIA drone, causing it to crash?

Probably not, but such a thing is possible and the US is in a race to prevent it.
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A mocked military drone is paraded during an Occupy Wall Street protest near Wall Street in New York on October 15, 2011. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran proudly announced to the world earlier this week that it's army had shot down a CIA-operated drone that had crossed into its airspace.

Shortly after the announcement, Iranian state television revised the statement, saying instead that it had managed to "take over controls" of the drone and bring it down — leading to a flurry of speculation that the US drone had been hacked.

The ability to hack into a drone is, obviously, a worrying one. So, is it possible?

More from GlobalPost: Complete coverage of The Drone Wars

"While it is technically possible for someone to hack into a UAV control system, it is really unlikely in this case," said Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Automation Laboratory at MIT. "Assuming that it crashed, it was likely due to a lost link problem on the side of the US, with some other concurrent system problem (low fuel, stalled engine, etc.) The US has lost several UAVs in this manner, so that is my guess."


More US drones patrolling above border with Mexico

LUNA COUNTRY, New Mexico — The Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, known as the Drone Caucus, has doubled its membership since January, and the number of drones used on the border has increased.

US complies with Pakistan's order to evacuate Shamsi air base - reports

The Pakistani government had given the US until December 11 to leave the site, which is said to be where the CIA launches its drone attacks on the tribal belt between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

British police arrest 22 anti-drone protesters outside US Embassy

British police arrested 22 people Friday during anti-drone strike outside a US Embassy in London on suspicion of the protesters belonging to a banned group.

Mother of arrested "al-Qaeda sympathizer" apologizes to New Yorkers

At the time of his arrest Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf after converting to Islam, had been under police surveillance for more than two years. He had come close to completing at least three bombs.

Suspected third US drone strike this week kills 7 in Pakistan

According to the AP, anonymous Pakistani officials said missiles fired from drones hit two compounds in Bobar village in the South Waziristan tribal area. 

The journey of a drone

While the world debates the legal and ethical implications of unmanned combat, there is little acknowledgment that these weapons are anything but unmanned.

US begins drone flights from Ethiopia

US officials confirm surveillance drones used against al-Shabaab in Somalia are launched from Ethiopia
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The RQ-1 Predator drone lands at Balad Air Base in Iraq after a sortie on Sept. 15, 2004. (Rob Jensen/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States has begun unmanned drone flights from an airport in southern Ethiopia flying surveillance missions over Somalia as part of the fight against Al Shabaab, the Islamist extremist group with links to Al Qaeda.

US officials confirmed drone flights from the civilian airport in Arba Minch were underway but insisted that the Reaper drones were not armed.

The move is part of a trend towards greater U.S. military engagement on the continent, albeit often in an arms-length capacity. U.S. drones are already based in the Seychelles and Djibouti.

The remote-controlled MQ-9 Reapers are capable of carrying Hellfire missiles and satellite guided bombs and have been used to carry out assassinations of Taliban fighters and commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

However U.S. officials insist the drones launching from Ethiopia are being used for surveillance only.

Such claims will be met with some skepticism given the recent upsurge in drone strikes on Shabaab training camps and other positions in and around the southern Somali port town of Kismayo since June.

The U.S. drone wars are shrouded in mystery and denial. This week, even as a spokesman for the US 17th Air Force which oversees operations in Africa confirmed the drone flights from Arba Minch had begun, a spokesman for the Ethiopian government continued to deny there were even any U.S. drones in the country.

Ethiopia and the U.S. have cooperated in the past in trying to defeat Somalia’s Islamist militants. In 2006 Ethiopia invaded Somalia with the backing of the U.S. which flew bombing raids from an airbase in Ethiopia.


US drone strike kills top commander in Pakistan

Two American drone strikes have killed a key Taliban commander and at least 7 others in Pakistan’s tribal belt Thursday.
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