China Scrambled 1,226 Troops to Stop a Single Drone

By Jamie Condliffe on at

When an unauthorised flight passed near Beijing airport yesterday, China scrambled 1,226 military personnel, 123 military vehicles, 26 radar technicians, two fighter jets and two helicopters to stop it. Turns out, it was a single mapping drone.

Police later arrested two men, who work for an aviation technology company, for flying the drone. A third man later confessed to having been involved. The UAV was 7.5 feet long and used for mapping and surveillance.

As the reaction makes clear, China forbids any flights—manned or unmanned!—without prior approval from the state. That means that the air force, civil aviation authorities and the local air traffic control bureau all have to give the go-ahead. These guys clearly forgot about that—and found out the hard way. [Guardian]

Image by Bureau of Land Management under Creative Commons license