The United States plans to deploy thousands of drones over the next two years to counter China’s numerical advantage in terms of men and military equipment, Kathleen Hicks, the US deputy Defence Secretary said on Monday. The initiative will bear the name Replicator and it will be spearheaded by Hicks.
Beijing’s main asset is its “mass effect. More ships. More rockets. More people”, said Kathleen Hicks during a conference in Washington. Hicks said that the U.S. will counter the Chinese army on the ground quantitatively, but the drones will be more difficult to predict, more difficult to hit, and more difficult to defeat. The US military plans to deploy thousands of drones in multiple areas over the next 18 to 24 months, Kathleen Hicks added.
The United States considers China a major challenge and tries to avoid any direct conflict, especially around Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of the People’s Republic of China. The United States, which diplomatically recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1979, remains Taiwan’s strongest ally as well as its main arms supplier. The US recently approved a potential $500 million arms sale to Taiwan to help boost the island’s air defence capability.