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HomeEconomyThis week’s covers | Feb 10th 2024 Edition

This week’s covers | Feb 10th 2024 Edition

ONE OF OUR covers this week features the lethal drones changing the nature of war as they swarm over the killing fields in Ukraine. The other is on how Xi Jinping, China’s president, has lost the trust of investors—and how he will struggle to win it back.

In our European editions our reporting describes how first-person view (FPV) drones are proliferating along the Russian and Ukrainian lines. The descendants of racing quadcopters, built from off-the-shelf components, these drones can slip into tank turrets or dugouts. They can loiter before going for the kill. In one week last autumn Ukrainian drones helped destroy 75 Russian tanks, 101 big guns and much else besides. 

This is the first time in the history of warfare that precision weapons have been so cheap and abundant. America’s GPS-guided artillery shells cost $100,000 a time. Drones can cost as little as several hundred dollars. In 2024 Ukraine is on track to build 1m-2m of them. Astonishingly, that will match Ukraine’s consumption of shells.

From the start, we collected photographs of drones to show an unfamiliar weapon at work, even as we thought up designs to convey their menace. We began with a picture of a Ukrainian soldier launching his drone through the bare branches of a tree. Beside it, you can see how the X-shaped arms of a quadcopter could become part of a skull and crossbones.

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