China: April 2, 2002


At a defense exhibition in Beijing, Chinese manufacturers responded to the government's call to upgrade the technical capabilities of the Chinese armed forces. The rapid success of American high tech troops in Afghanistan has convinced Chinese military leaders, who were first shocked by the lighting US campaign in the 1991 Gulf War, that they had to go high tech or become irrelevant. One of the more striking exhibits was of an infantryman equipped as a high tech scout (called the "Owl" by the manufacturer). The soldier carried a tiny web cam on his helmet and lightweight computer and satellite communications gear in his uniform pockets. Thus equipped, whatever the soldier saw, was immediately seen by commanders in a distant headquarters. The technology used for this ensemble is largely off the shelf. But it wasn't just the army that was interested in the Owl ensemble. Officers from the border guards and the national police were also interested. The United States has been testing similar equipment.


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