It’s no secret how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have so far assumed the role of the most valuable player in modern warfare, as demonstrated in the nearly nine-month-long war between Russia and Ukraine. While the United States remains superior in possessing the best and most sophisticated UAVs ever, China has undeniably caught up in developing state-of-the-art drone technologies.

A week before its much-awaited air show, China, through its state-owned media, teased some of its new military technology—including its drone swarm launcher, reportedly capable of firing at least 18 drones simultaneously. But this isn’t the first time Beijing showcased this truck-mounted launcher concept, as it demonstrated the technology back in 2020.

China Drone Blaster
Chinese drone launched from the truck-based platform in the 2020 test. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Manufactured by China Ordnance Equipment Group (COEG), the latest “drone blaster” will be partaking for the first time at the 2022 Zhuhai Air Show, which begins on November 8. In its teaser, the latest swarm launcher is undoubtedly reminiscent of the previous system demonstrated in 2020, capable of firing multiple drones at once even if its transport platform is in motion. Once released and up in the air, these drones can be set into different formations—and conduct Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and attack missions on ground targets.

Unlike the previous system, however, the latest loitering drone swarm launcher is smaller, cheaper, and more mobile in addition to its primary function feature, which focuses more on “information-gathering and attack variants,” as reported by Eurasian Times. Moreover, the system would be used for ISR missions and on “area control, damage assestment, precision strike, and cluster strike saturating attacks.”