The remains were put on display, but there was no media interest

Monday, December 18th, 2023

Swarm Troopers by David HamblingIf the Pentagon hates drones, David Hambling notes (in Swarm Troopers), the CIA seems to love them:

Drones have a unique capability to carry out deniable operations, which are important to the CIA. The Agency learned the hard way just how disastrous it can be when a spy plane mission goes wrong.


Four years after the U-2 incident, the Chinese shot down a number of Fire Fly drones in their airspace. The remains were put on display and, like the Russians before them, the Chinese denounced American imperialist aggression. But there was no media interest. The Chinese might well claim that the peculiar wreckage was from American unmanned spy planes, but where was the proof? There was none of the international outcry that had accompanied the Gary Powers incident and no embarrassment for the politicians or the CIA. Equally, there was no risk that the pilot would be interrogated and give away information. (The main long-term consequence was that the Chinese reverse-engineered the drones. They ended up with a clone called WuZhen, which kick-started their own unmanned aircraft effort).

When drones did eventually find a place in the US military, thanks to the success of the Predator, it was only with considerable assistance from the CIA.

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