First glimpse of China’s flashy new drone
China has provided a glimpse of what appears to be a new supersonic spy drone during a rehearsal for its upcoming National Day military parade.
Photos posted on social media showed the drone, believed to be a DR-8, being transported into Beijing, where it will be paraded alongside more flashy new weaponry as the country celebrates 70 years of Communist Party rule on October 1.
Military enthusiasts said the "high-speed" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which can reportedly travel up to 4074 kilometres per hour, would likely be used for reconnaissance, or collecting strategic information about enemy forces.
It would be expected to play a "key role" should there be a conflict with US aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China Sea or Western Pacific, according to the South China Morning Post.
The new high speed UAV seems similar to D-21 in some respects, but differences exist:— Rick Joe (@RickJoe_PLART) September 15, 2019
- big delta wing with ?winglets vs D-21 wing and fin config
- likely chin intake vs nose intake on D-21
- landing gear ?present, i.e. likely reusable rather than expendable like D-21 pic.twitter.com/Eo6sX7F3Zp
Photos shared on Twitter also showed camouflaged tanks, warplanes, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and what was believed to be a Sharp Sword stealth attack drone, rolling into Beijing.
The Sharp Sword can carry several missiles or laser-guided bombs, according to the Post.
But the DR-8 was by far the "biggest surprise", according to one China watcher. One user known as Xi Yazhou said he believed it was the first time it had been seen in public before.
Others speculated it could travel more than 4000 kilometres per hour with enough range to reach Guam.
The unveiling comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to beef up the People's Liberation Army (PLA) with brand new tech, including stealth jets and aircraft carriers. Earlier this year, the government revealed plans for a 7.5 per cent rise in defence spending.
That's has raised some concerns in the Pacific, where it continues to ramp up its presence in the disputed South China Sea.
Beijing arbitrarily claims the major shipping route, which is also rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves, as its own, and has been accused by the United States of "coercion" and "intimidation" in the region.
"We share a vision for an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific neighbourhood," Mr Morrison said.
"An Indo-Pacific where we respect each other's sovereignty and independence because if we allow the sovereignty or independence of any of our neighbours to suffer coercion, then we are all diminished."
Oh well ... following the so far secret hypersonic UAV, also the UCAV Sharp Sword was spotted during the preparations for the parade. pic.twitter.com/a0pnE50FhN— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) September 14, 2019