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China provides reconnaissance and attack drones to Russian operations in Africa. It is a direct threat to NATO along the southern flank

Italy seizes Chinese military drones bound for Libya, Italian authorities say. Russia has already routed weapons through the Libyan port, targeting the gateway to Africa. Now Chinese ones as well. The equipment may in part be used to sustain Russia’s growing military presence in eastern Libya, but are also likely destined for countries further south in Africa like Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso where Russia has ties to leaders of recent coups. Currently, Wing L oong chinese UAVs can be delivered to users in batches. In addition to representing China's high-end production destined for overseas, the Wing Loong II drone is also building a platform for global deployment of other Chinese military products. China's UAV capabilities have improved significantly in recent years, and Chinese industries have received orders from abroad, including Russia. Chinese UAV capabilities have improved significantly in recent years, and Chinese industries have received orders from abroad, including Russia. Since the invasion of Ukraine Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi have forged an alliance to bring about a new anti-Western world order



Italy has seized Chinese military drones disguised as wind turbines that were heading to Libya in violation of a U.N. embargo, Italian authorities said.

Components making up the two drones were concealed in six containers sent on two container ships from China to the Port of Gioia Tauro in Italy, where they were impounded before they could be loaded onto vessels heading for Libya, according to officials.

“The components were hidden among composite material replicas of wind turbine blades to conceal them and avoid checks,” Italian tax police and customs officials said in a statement. One of the drones featured the slogan “The energy saving world” written along its side.

The drones were heading for Benghazi under orders from Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the military strongman controlling eastern Libya, sources told Defense News on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The U.S. spotted the shipment and tipped off Italian authorities, the sources added.

A U.N. embargo prohibits the sale of armaments to Libya, which has been racked by civil conflict since the downfall of former ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Each drone was more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, with a wingspan of about 20 meters (66 feet) and a weight exceeding 3 tons, according to Italian authorities. The description matches reports by sources that the drones were Chinese Wing Loong II unmanned aerial vehicles.

China's UAV capabilities have improved significantly in recent years, and Chinese industries have received orders from abroad, including Russia.

The Wing Loong II UAV is 11 meters long, has a wingspan of 20.5 meters, has maximum takeoff weight of 4.2 tons and can carry up to 480 kilograms of weapons and external equipment. Thanks to the adoption of a new engine and aesthetic design, the maximum flight altitude can reach 9,000 meters, the maximum flight speed can reach 370 kilometers per hour and it can achieve 20 hours of continuous mission endurance.



According to reports, its six outer pylons can hold more than a dozen weapons.



The Wing Loong II UAV has reconnaissance and attack unctions. It can use a variety of weapons such as laser-guided missiles and GPS-guided bombs to make precise attacks on targets. It can also perform reconnaissance, surveillance and ground attack, electronic warfare, and search and rescue tasks after expansion. Revolutionary breakthroughs in a number of key technologies have enabled the Wing Loong II drone to receive orders from foreign users.



Currently, Wing Loong UAVs can be delivered to users in batches. In addition to representing China's high-end production destined for overseas, the Wing Loong drone is also building a platform for global deployment of other Chinese military products.

In 2020, when Hifter was seeking to conquer Tripoli and take over western Libya from a U.N.-backed administration, he had the support of the United Arab Emirates, which reportedly sent that drone variant to Libya. Observers claimed the UAVs were involved in the killing of 26 cadets during a missile attack at a Tripoli military academy. The UAE denied involvement.

The seizure at the southern Italian port followed a Canadian police operation in April, which led to charges for two Libyan men living in Canada with conspiracy to buy Chinese drones with Libyan crude oil. Fathi Ben Ahmed Mhaouek and Mahmud Mohamed Elsuwaye Sayeh were former employees of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency based in Montreal.

Hiftar has been forging ever-closer ties to Russia, allowing the country in recent months to unload thousands of tons of military equipment at Tobruk port in eastern Libya as it seeks to supply Russian operations across Africa.

Russian vessels have been unloading thousands of tons of military equipment in the eastern Libyan port of Tobruk this month after repeated visits by Russia’s deputy defense minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the strongman running eastern Libya.

Indeed, the shipments, arriving from the Russian-controlled port of Tartus in Syria, contain towed artillery, armored personnel carriers and rocket launchers according to video released by Libyan news site Fawasel Media.

The equipment may in part be used to sustain Russia’s growing military presence in eastern Libya, but are also likely destined for countries further south in Africa like Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso where Russia has ties to leaders of recent coups.

Meanwhile, as Russian military instructors arrive in Niger to support the coup plotters who seized power in the country last year, the fate of a U.S. base in the country, from which drone flights depart across Africa, hangs in the balance in light of the Military Junta's order to the United States to leave the African country.

On April 17, a U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton drone flying out of Sigonella airbase in Sicily monitored Tobruk.

To reduce Russia's ability to use Tobruk, one could stop the use of radar or stationing ships off the coast, but this is now impossible given current U.S. commitments in the Red Sea.


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