War clouds?Chinese troops with US-style combat gear on Indian border

Beijing, Feb 23: China has equipped a branch of the PLA deployed along the Indian border with a powerful US-style integrated individual soldier combat system to prepare for a future "informatised warfare", a media report has said.

Informatised warfare, a term widely used by the Chinese military in recent years, refers to the use of IT, digital and artificial intelligence applications in battlefield conditions.

The Sky Wolf Commandos, a branch of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) special operations forces from the western theatre command, have been equipped with the QTS-11 system in their training, Weihutang, a column affiliated with the China Central Television (CCTV), reported.

The western theatre command looks after the security along the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India.

The QTS-11 system, according to Chinese experts, is similar to the one being used by US soldiers.

Hailed as the "strongest individual firepower in the world", the QTS-11 system not only contains firearms but also a full digitalised integrated individual soldier combat system, including detection and communications, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert told state-run Global Times.

The system, which includes an assault rifle and 20-millimeter grenade launcher, is capable of destroying antipersonnel targets.

Each soldier equipped with the system is armed with a thermal imager and optoelectronic and positioning systems, the Global Times quoted a report by Science and Technology Daily. QTS-11 system weighs up to seven kgs.

"The individual soldier combat system is only part of the digitalised army, something countries are attempting to do. Developing the integrated individual soldier combat system adapts to informatized warfare in the future," Song said.

"QTS-11 systems of the US and China are similar but not comparable. The system's capability depends on how it is used," Song said. Special operations forces are the first to have a taste of the QTS-11 system before the system would be widely equipped into other forces.The system is also very expensive, Song said.

The announcement by the official media of the deployment of new system along the border with India followed a report few days ago of the upgrading the air defences along the LAC was seen by military observers here as a psychological warfare being resorted to by the PLA.

The Global Times earlier quoted an expert as saying the upgradation of the air defence with deployment of fighter jets like J-10 and J-11 is aimed at confronting any threat from India in the light of India acquiring new fighter aircraft, an apparent reference to Rafale aircraft.

The Chinese military carried out a media blitzkrieg during the height of last year's 73-day Dokalam standoff highlighting deployment of new battle tank as well as massive military exercises on the Tibetan plateau.

The standoff over PLA's attempts to build a road close to the strategic narrow Chicken Neck corridor in North East ended after the Chinese military stopped the road building in the area which is also claimed by Bhutan.

The integrated combat system was firstly developed by the US but they have dropped the research of Objective Individual Combat Weaponry system due to weight problems.


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