Defense News journalists have received an image of a secret Chinese WZ-8 supersonic drone. An unmanned aerial vehicle parked near one of the new hangars at the Lu’an air base in Anhui province.
What is known
The People’s Republic of China is actively modernizing the airbase where bombers of the People’s Liberation Army are stationed. As you can see, there is also a hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle capable of speeds of Mach 3 (more than 3700 km/h).
The photo was taken using the Planet Labs satellite. Unfortunately, the quality of the picture cannot be called high.
The presentation of the unmanned aerial vehicle took place in 2019. Three years later, the WZ-8 appeared at the air show in China along with the YU-20 refueling aircraft.
The drone will be able to operate in two modes. The first involves reconnaissance, reconnaissance and observation. In the second mode, the WZ-8 turns into a high-speed missile aimed at destroying US aircraft carriers, as well as fifth-generation F-35 and F-22 fighters.
The platform for launching the drone is the H-6 strategic bomber, which has a cruising range of 8,000 km. It is these aircraft that are deployed at the Luan airbase in Anhui province.
The modernization of the base began in the summer of 2018. The Chinese military intends to resurface the 3.2 km long runway, expand the runways and build 20 hangars to house the bombers. Also, two hangars will appear at the base in place of open parking lots for aircraft.
According to Decker Eveleth, a student at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, China has already built munitions testing facilities at the base. They are checkpoints to check missiles and bombs before being loaded onto aircraft.
In conclusion, we add that last month, too, were published satellite photos of WZ-8 at Chinese base. Moreover, two drones got into the photo at once. The images were taken on August 9 last year. They are part of classified US intelligence documents that have been leaked to Discord. However, their authenticity has not been confirmed. The documents say that China intends to use the WZ-8 to spy on US ships and military bases.
Source: Defense News