The Complex

China might be testing armed drones

Happy Friday. Here's your pic of the week. This photo that has appeared on Chinese web forums apparently shows China's MQ-9 Reaper UAV clone, the Pterodactyl making its first public appearance at the Zuhai Air Show in China. What's so special about this picture (other than it's the debut photo for a new Chinese UAV)? Check out those 15 black missiles painted on the side of the fuselage.

The missiles (painted behind those 20 red stars that might denote missions flown) look like kill markings often painted on the side of an aircraft to celebrate successful bombing missions or air-to-air victories. Given the fact that China is not, to the best of our knowledge, involved in any CIA-style drone bombing campaigns, these markings probably indicate successful exercises -- not actual bomb runs.

Chinese Internet, Alert5

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