Welcome to the Department of the Air Force's China Aerospace Studies Institute   

CASI Banner

Sichuan Tengden Technology: Privately Owned, State Sponsored

  • Published
  • China Aerospace Studies Institute

Traditionally, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) acquires whole systems that are manufactured or integrated by companies partially- or wholly-owned by the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that fall under the State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND). It is very rare for the PLA to acquire a complete system manufactured by an ostensibly privately-owned company. Over the past several years Sichuan Tengden Technology Co.’s (四川腾盾科技有限公司) TB series of medium-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been marketed, tested, and used for remote delivery, forest fire monitoring and dispensing of flame retardant,  and emergency telecom signal boosting  applications by Chinese companies and ministries, and most recently may have been involved with cloud seeding activities  relating to the dire drought in southern China. Additionally, it appears the military version, the TB-001, has been used by the PLA on several occasions to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)sorties skirting the air defense identification zones of Japan and Taiwan.  Most recently, sorties of the TB-001 in early August were in the vicinity of impact areas for PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) missiles during the exercises conducted by the PLA in the beginning of that month leading some observers to conclude that these UAVs may have been adopted by the PLARF.  Imagery of the PLARF Base 61 subordinate UAV regiment from August 23rd indicates that this unit has indeed adopted TB-001s, as seen below. If this is the case, it is one of the first cases of a mixed ownership enterprise supplying the PLA a large and complete system instead of individual components that would be integrated into a system produced by a defense conglomerate. 

Click here for the full article