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Beijing has recently purchased a high-performance software from the Belgium-based defense contractor Luciad. The company, which has recently become a part of Hexagon Geospatial claims itself to be a global leader in 5D visualization. Luciad’s system is currently used for situational awareness by NATO and US military commands, Chinese government sources were quoted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) as saying.
In addition, Luciad software is reportedly used by the US Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, according to sputniknews.com.
Obtaining the Luciad software package, which includes the LuciadLightspeed program, puts the Chinese Armed Forces, AKA the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on “an equal organizational footing with some of the West’s elite military operations,” according to SCMP.
LuciadLightspeed is capable of processing real-time data, including information on fast-moving objects, at a speed of 100 calculations per second, 75 times faster than its closest competitor, and is accurate to within 3 centimeters on a global scale. Another important strength the platform includes is the fact that the data are collected from a whole array of sources, such as drone feeds, satellite imagery, radar, sensor plots, weather forecasts and platoon status.
The US graphics technology company Nvidia, for its part, said that Luciad software help planners “visualize and analyze changes in enemy positions or assess target information in real time” in order to adjust relevant mission parameters.
It remains unclear whether Luciad had disclosed every line of its source code to Chinese authorities for a security check, something which is line with China’s law on any foreign vendor supplying software to the country.
China possesses one of the world’s most extensive military intelligence gathering systems and also has the world’s second-largest network of satellites, second only to the United States.