China says it has successfully tested a self-developed laser defence system designed to shoot down small, low-altitude drones.
The system is capable of shooting down small aircraft within a 2km radius and can do so within five seconds of locating its target, the official state Xinhua news agency said, quoting a statement by the China Academy of Engineering Physics, which it said was a co-developer of the system.
According to Sunday's Xinhua story, the drone defence system is designed to destroy small-scale drones flying within an altitude of 500m and at speeds below 50m per second.
"Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage," Yi Jinsong, a manager involved with the project, was quoted as saying.
The reported development comes as concerns about the country's military preparedness are being raised in state media, with a front page article in official military newspaper the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily last month saying weaknesses in military training posed a threat to the country's ability to fight and win a war.
The same report said that China's military authorities had sent a document out to units detailing 40 weaknesses in current training methods.
The country's 2.3-million-strong armed forces, the world's largest, came under criticism earlier this year from serving and retired Chinese officers and state media, who questioned whether they were too corrupt to win a war.
President Xi Jinping has been pushing to strengthen his country’s fighting ability as they project power across disputed waters in the East and South China Seas. China has developed stealth jets and has built one aircraft carrier.