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After two teens, aged 16 and 12  lost their left arms to shark bites in separate incidents about two miles apart in Oak Island, North Carolina, this news will be welcome.

Lifeguards on Surfside Beach in California are sending out drones to detect sharks. If the sharks show aggressive behavior, the beaches will be closed.

The idea of tracking sharks from the air is nothing new. Air patrols have been done in other places using Cessnas and other planes, but the drones make this very effective and fast.

Using drones it takes only a few minutes to see if the sharks will be a problem, a task that used to take up to two hours for lifeguards on jet skis.

The full story and additional video can be found on the BBC’s website.

And for those interested in the type of drones being used:

The CBS video suggets that these are DJI Phantom 3 Professional drones, as can be gleamed from the golden stripes on the arms of the quadcopter.

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Yilong
Yilong drone

China is incrementally advancing its development and employment of UAVs. According to a 2013 report by the Defense Science Board, China’s move into unmanned systems is “alarming” and combines unlimited resources with technological awareness that might allow China to match or even outpace U.S. spending on unmanned systems in the future.

This statement comes straight from the Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013.

China’s ability to use drones is increasing rapidly. According to the report, China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”

China will match or even outpace U.S. spending on unmanned systems in the future.

Four drones under development include the Xianglong (Soaring Dragon), Yilong (Pterodactyl), Sky Saber, and Lijian (Sharp Sword), with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons

Wired.com reports that with the anticipated succesful test flight of the Lijian, China becomes the last major aerospace power to field a jet-powered, stealth drone prototype.

Yilong
Xianlong
Blurry pictures of the Lijian drone

Chinese models on display at the Zhuhai show included the CH-4 and the Wing Loong, or Pterodactyl, described as apparent clones of the US Reaper and Predator drones; the Xianglong, or Soaring Dragon, that appears modeled after the US RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Some information on the Wong Loong and the Xianglong can be found on this page.

China is entering the UAV drone arms race in force. The drones to are already put to work, as one Wing Loong drone was intercepted near the disputed Senkaku islands, as the aviationist reports.