China positions high-altitude spy drone (2023)

China has moved its cutting-edge hypersonic drones to an air base in eastern China, leaked Pentagon documents show, in what is being seen as yet another sign of Beijing's readiness to launch an attack on Taiwan.

One of the documents, analyzed by The Washington Post, included satellite photos from August 9.

The imagery showed twoWZ-8 rocket-propelled reconnaissance drones at an air base in eastern China, about 350 miles inland from Shanghai.

The August maneuvers of the WZ-8 were noted in asecret document from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

They show the Chinese military making technological advances that could help it target American warships around Taiwan and military bases in the region.

The leaked Pentagon document showed the positioning of the drones

TheWZ-8 rocket-propelled reconnaissance drone was first unveiled in 2019

Xi Jinping, China's president, is seen on April 6

They also show the sophistication of Chinese military hardware.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency report says China's military, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), had 'almost certainly' established its first unmanned aerial vehicle unit at the base.

The base falls under the Eastern Theater Command, the branch of the Chinese military responsible for enforcing Beijing's sovereignty claims over Taiwan.

The revelation comes as Congress is due to be presented with a series of scenarios about potential attacks on Taiwan.

The House China Select Committee on Wednesday will take part in a war-game scenario for a simulated Chinese invasion of Taiwan, run by the Center for A New American Security.

The session has been planned to give lawmakers a sense of how a Taiwan conflict would unfold, where U.S. military weaknesses may lie, and the consequences for international trade and American businesses, Axios reported.

(Video) It is ‘unsurprising’ that China has reportedly developed hypersonic spy drones

The WZ-8 was officially unveiled in December 2019, at the70th-anniversary parade marking the founding of Mao Zedong's People's Republic of China.

The drone flies at high altitude, and travels at least three times the speed of sound.

Several other documents allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira, who was arrested last week, showthe existence of additional spy balloons, and an assessment that Taiwan is ill-prepared to withstand an aerial bombardment from China during an invasion.

The Department of Defense has not commented on the drone document.

The leakedfiles also include a deeply troubling report about China's hypersonic missile program, and the revelation that a new missile believed to be capable of evading U.S. defenseshas been successfully tested.

Teixeira, 21, was arrested on Thursday at his home in Massachusetts. He is believed to have shared hundreds of classified documents with friends on a Discord chat room between fall and mid March.

Among them was a February 28 top-secret report from the Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence directorate, The Washington Post reported.

They reported that three days previously, on February 25, China had successfully tested a new missile, named DF-27 - ahypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile, in the Dongfeng series.All Dongfeng-series missiles are capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The missile 'possesses a high probability of penetrating US' ballistic missile defenses, the report said.

The February 28 memo also revealed that last year the Chinese military, the People's Liberation Army, deployed versions of the new missile that can attack land targets and ships.

Jack Teixeira,21-year-old National Guard member, was arrested by FBI officials on Thursday for leaking classified US intelligence documents. One of the documents details the new Chinese missile

(Video) Chinese 'spy balloon' spotted flying over US

China released rare footage of its nuclear-capable, hypersonic missile DF-26 being launched during a military exercise. There are no images yet from the DF-27 test

DF-17 Dongfeng medium-range ballistic missiles equipped with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle, involved in an October 2019 military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic. The DF-27 is a new and improved version of the DF-17

Hypersonic missiles travel at more than five times the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere

The new missile has ahypersonic glide vehicle, designed to fly more than five times the speed of sound.

They can maneuver in flight, making them almost impossible to shoot down.

The DF-27 flew for 12 minutes and traveled 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles), the leaked document revealed.

Its range is significantly more than that: a 2021 Defense Department report cited by The Washington Post said the DF-27 has a range of 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers, meaning that it can strike any target in East or Southeast Asia and large parts of the Pacific, including Guam.

Alaska is around 7,200km away: mainland U.S. is under 11,000km away, according to the latest annual Pentagon analysis, 'Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China'. The report was published in November and cited by Newsweek.

'The DF-27 is designed to enhance [China's] ability to hold targets at risk beyond the Second Island Chain and possesses a high probability of penetrating U.S.' ballistic missile defense, the report stated.

The First, Second and Third Island Chains are geopolitical terms, first identified by U.S. military planners in the 1940s, for a series of concentric semicircles stretching out from China.

The Second Island Chain references the area stretching from central Japan through the Marianas and Micronesia.

(Video) Chinese spy balloon will NOT be shot down by U.S., Pentagon says | LiveNOW from FOX

The third is centered on Hawaii. The first is closer to China, and runs from the far south of Japan through the South China Sea.

The United States is protected by aGround-Based Midcourse Defense System (pictured)

The Chinese army is pictured on parade earlier this month. The leaked documents also detailed U.S. assessments of China, including its missile capabilities

China has long been known to be making rapid strides in its hypersonic missiles program.

The latest development, however, comes at a tense time, with rising fears about the safety of Taiwan.

The leaked documents also showed that China has for the first time recently used its new helicopter-carrying assault ship,Yushen LHA-31, in an extended deployment - another worrying update for Taiwan.

Last year it emerged that the Chinese military isdeveloping a supersonic anti-ship missile that will be able to travel further and faster than any traditional torpedo.

The 16ft 5in missile will be able to go as fast as 2.5 times the speed of sound at about 32,800 feet for 124 miles before diving and skimming across the waves for up to 12.4 miles.

When it arrives within about 6.2 miles of its target, the missile will go into torpedo mode, traveling underwater at up to 100 meters per second using super-cavitation, which makes a giant air bubble around it, will significantly reduces drag.

The hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) DF-17 is seen in October 2019

(Video) Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

China in November 2021 tested for the first time a'Fractional Orbital Bombardment System' -a warhead delivery system that can evade conventional ICBM defense systems

China's expansion into hypersonic missile technology and other advanced fields has raised concerns as Beijing becomes increasingly assertive over its claims to seas and islands in the South China and East China Seas, and to large chunks of territory along its disputed high-mountain border with India.

Hypersonic missiles travel at more than five times the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere, or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).

The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic missiles, and North Koreasaid in August that it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.

In October, the US Army and Navy successfully launched a rocket while testing a new class of hypersonic weapons at a seaside NASA facility.

NASA's Wallop Flight Facility in Virginia hosted the test by Sandia National Laboratories which evaluated hypersonic weapon communications and navigation equipment as well as advanced materials that can withstand the heat in a 'realistic hypersonic environment,' according to a Navy statement.

The testing comes amid growing concerns Russia and China have had more successdeveloping their own hypersonic weapons than the US.

The United States and its global rivals have quickened their pace to build hypersonic weapons - the next generation of arms that rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms.

The Pentagon's 2023 budget request already includes $4.7 billion (£4 billion) for research and development of hypersonic weapons.

It includes planning that would have a hypersonic missile battery fielded by next year, a sea-based missile by 2025 and an air-based cruise missile by 2027.

The US Army and Navy successfully launched a rocket at a Virginia NASA facility on October 26 (pictured), the Pentagon confirmed

Russia has used hypersonic missiles 'multiple' times in Ukraine, according to the top U.S. commander in Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the country's arms manufacturers to develop even more advanced hypersonic missiles to maintain the country's edge in military technologies.

The Russian military has said that its Avangard system is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp maneuvers on its way to a target to dodge the enemy's missile shield.

(Video) What China said about suspected Chinese spy balloon spotted over US

It has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and the first unit armed with the Avangard entered duty in December 2019.


Why did China send a drone to Taiwan? ›

"It will allow the communist's military's naval and air forces in the Western Pacific, including air force strike groups or carrier battle groups, to launch attacks" on the east coast, he said.

What is the Chinese super fast drone? ›

The WZ-8 was officially unveiled in December 2019, at the 70th-anniversary parade marking the founding of Mao Zedong's People's Republic of China. The drone flies at high altitude, and travels at least three times the speed of sound.

Did PLA almost certainly establishes first supersonic UAV unit? ›

The U.S. assessment said China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) had "almost certainly" established its first unmanned aerial vehicle unit at the base, which falls under the Eastern Theater Command, the branch of the Chinese military responsible for enforcing Chinese sovereignty claims over Taiwan, the newspaper ...

What is a supersonic drone? ›

But a Supersonic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is an aircraft which can fly at speed greater than mach 1.2 without the necessity of any pilot. Such aircrafts can be remotely controlled by radio waves.

Was Taiwan military drone headed towards China after shots fired? ›

The drone headed back to China after the shots were fired, a military spokesperson said. Taiwan has complained of Chinese drones repeatedly flying close to small groups of islands it controls near China's coast as part of military drills by Beijing, most recently by the Kinmen islands.

What mainland China's spy drone flights around Taiwan could mean for cross strait conflict? ›

It said drones could be used for “decapitation” – a military term that refers to taking out a group's leader. They could also be used to target Taiwan's mobile missile launchers and heavy weaponry.

Does China have high-altitude drones? ›

China has manufactured a high-altitude spy drone capable of flying at three times the speed of sound, according to a leaked classified US intelligence report.

How high can a Chinese military drone fly? ›

The warplane would depart from its home base and fly to a location just off China's east coast before unleashing the stealth drone. The drone could then enter Taiwanese or South Korean airspace at a height of 100,000 feet and a speed of three times the speed of sound.

What is China's first fully solar-powered UAV? ›

Qimingxing-50: China's First Fully Solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV)

Which country made the first fully solar UAV? ›

Science and Technology. In News: China's first fully solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle, Qimingxing-50, or Morning Star-50, has successfully completed its maiden test flight with all onboard systems functioning optimally.

What is the world's first supersonic drone? ›

Meet Arrow the world's first and only supersonic drone.

Does the US have any supersonic drones? ›

The Lockheed D-21 is an American supersonic reconnaissance drone.

Why is supersonic flight banned in the US? ›

Traditional supersonic aircraft can create a sonic boom in excess of 100 decibels during flight -- a problem that led the US Federal Aviation Administration to ban commercial supersonic flight over land in 1973.

How fast is a US military drone? ›

It has a 66 foot wingspan, a Honeywell engine, can carry 3,900 pounds of fuel and travel at a speed of 240 knots 'true air speed'. Reuters Here is a description of the MQ-9 "Reaper" drone based on information from the Air Force and its maker, General Atomics.

Could the US Navy save Taiwan? ›

The U.S. Navy Submarine Force Could Sink the Chinese Fleet and Save Taiwan, But at the Cost of Half of its Boats. If and when China attacks Taiwan, the U.S. Navy's submarines could be the first defenders to take shots at the Chinese invasion fleet.

Does China have advanced drones? ›

Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global arms transfers, shows China has delivered some 282 combat drones to 17 countries in the past decade, making it the world's leading exporter of the weaponised aircraft.

Did China fly fighter jets over Taiwan? ›

China flies fighter jets near Taiwan after the leader's trip to the U.S.

Do you need a license to fly a drone in China? ›

You do not need a permit or a license to fly a drone in China. However, if your drone weighs more than 250 grams, you must register it before taking a flight in China. There are a few rules to follow within the permitted zones: Fly at a maximum altitude of 120 meters and a maximum distance of 500 meters from you.

Why were schools for drone pilots opened in China? ›

New aviation schools are opening across China to meet a growing demand for commercial pilots to fly small, remote-controlled aircraft, or drones. It is estimated the country's maintenance, mapping, filming and agricultural industries will need more than 10,000 drone pilots this year.

Why is Taiwan called China Airlines? ›

The name China Airlines reflects Taiwan's official name, the Republic of China.

What is the deadliest US military drone? ›

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF).

What is the deadliest drone in the world? ›

MQ-9 Reaper, also referred to as Predator B, is considered as the deadliest drone in the world. MQ-9 Reaper has immense capabilities such as payload carrying capacity of 3,800 lb. (1,700 kg), long range of 1,200 miles (1,900 km) and high-flying altitude of 50,000 ft (15,420 m).

Who has the best military drones in the world? ›

1. Northrop Grumman: Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company that provides military drones and unmanned systems for a variety of applications. They offer the RQ-4 Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for long-range surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

What is the maximum altitude for drone in USA? ›

Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Flying drones in restricted airspace is not allowed. Drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions prior to flight on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.

What is China's most powerful drone? ›

CAIG Wing Loong - Wikipedia.

Which country has the most advanced combat drones? ›

Countries with the most advanced Drone Technology

The United States of America is the world's leader in drone technology by a wide margin. The United States military has a great deal of knowledge of the architecture, design, and application of UAV technology thanks to a decade of intensive operational work with drones.

How high can spy drones fly? ›

The intended roles for the drone include general reconnaissance, pre-attack target assessment, and intelligence gathering. According to the manufacturer claims, the drone can reach hypersonic speed at the cruise altitude of 50,000 metres (160,000 ft), at near-space level.

How long can US military drones fly? ›

Brussels (Brussels Morning Newspaper) – How far can military drones flown by the United States travel? They have a range of more than 12,000 nautical miles, the ability to fly at heights of up to 60,000 feet, and the ability to remain airborne for 34 hours.

How far can law enforcement drones fly? ›

In general, most police drones can fly up to several kilometers (typically between 3-7 kilometers or 2-4 miles) from the operator, although some high-end models can have a flight range of up to 15 kilometers (9 miles) or more.

Does China have stealth drones? ›

China has been testing a new stealth drone design that does away with moving control surfaces and uses bursts of compressed air to maneuver.

Who is the largest Chinese drone maker? ›

DJI currently dominates more than 70% of the global drone market. According to a report by Drone Industry Insights, the market is expected to grow from $30.6 billion in 2022 to $55.8 billion by 2030. The Shenzhen-based company was formed in 2006 out of a college dorm room by its founder Frank Wang.

How many drones are made in China? ›

In 2017, China produced 2.9 million consumer drones, according to the Shenzhen UAV Industry Association, a rise of 67% year-on-year. China's drone industry was valued at $67 billion in 2020, up 16% from 2019.

Which is China's world first drone carrier capable of operating on its own? ›

The Zhu Hai Yun is the first unmanned system scientific research ship with autonomous navigation and remote-control functions. The fact that the unmanned carrier has a remote control means that it is capable of independent open-water navigation.

Which country will get weaponized drones for the first time ever? ›

Germany News: Germany to get weaponised drones for the first time - The Economic Times.

Who made the first war drone? ›

Abraham Karem (born 1937) is a designer of fixed and rotary-wing unmanned aircraft. He is regarded as the founding father of UAV (drone) technology.

What was the first US drone? ›

The first pilotless vehicles were developed in Britain and the USA during the First World War. Britain's Aerial Target, a small radio-controlled aircraft, was first tested in March 1917 while the American aerial torpedo known as the Kettering Bug first flew in October 1918.

What was the first US Navy drone? ›

The US Navy began experimenting with radio-controlled aircraft during the 1930s as well, resulting in the Curtiss N2C-2 drone in 1937. The N2C-2 was remotely controlled from another aircraft, called a TG-2. N2C-2 anti-aircraft target drones were in service by 1938.

What is the fastest drone aircraft? ›

10 Fastest Unmanned Aircraft In The World
  • Northrop Grumman X-47 B UCAS. ...
  • NASA X-43. ...
  • Boeing X-51 Waverider. ...
  • Predator C Avenger. ...
  • General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. ...
  • DARPA HTV-2. ...
  • Boeing X-45. ...
  • Northrop Gumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Nov 5, 2022

Why did the Chinese move to Taiwan? ›

In December 1949, the Republic of China Armed Forces and the Kuomintang were defeated in the Chinese Civil War, forcing the Government of the Republic of China to relocate to Taiwan.

Is it legal to fly drone in Taiwan? ›

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Taiwan

You do not require a permit or license. However, there are strict rules based on the weight of your drone, your flight zones, and a code of conduct that all operators must follow. If the weight of your drone exceeds 250 grams, you must register it.

What is one reason why there is a high demand for drone pilots in China? ›

According to the Article, what is one reason why there is a high demand for drone pilots in China? China is the leading manufacturer of drones worldwide and has more than 40 schools that teach about the operation of UAVs.

Did Taiwan ever belong to China? ›

The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 while fighting a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. Since then, the ROC has continued to exercise effective jurisdiction over the main island of Taiwan and a number of outlying islands, leaving Taiwan and China each under the rule of a different government.

Does Taiwan belong to China historically? ›

The island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China and ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan following the surrender of Japan in 1945. Japan would renounce sovereignty over Taiwan in 1952.

Why is Taiwan important to the US? ›

Taiwan has become an important U.S. partner in trade and investment, health, semiconductor and other critical supply chains, investment screening, science and technology, education, and advancing democratic values. The United States approach to Taiwan has remained consistent across decades and administrations.

How much do drone pilots make in China? ›

It's a big investment—financially and time-wise—but as drones continue to soar in popularity, it's well worth the price for some people. Ke Yubao, of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China, told China Daily that professional pilots can earn more than 20,000 yuan, or over $3,000, per month.

Why doesn t Egypt allow drones? ›

Egypt toughened its drone laws in 2017 as the government feared that terrorists may use miniature flying machines to carry out attacks. That's why it's mandatory to receive permission from the Civil Aviation Authority and the bitter truth, for now, is that you won't get that permission.

Does Mexico allow drones? ›

The Mexican Drone laws enumerate drones into three classes: Micro UAV: UAVs in this category weigh 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) or less. Micro UAVs can be flown without authorization from the AA, but if used for commercial activities, they should have third-party liability insurance, among other conditions.

Can I fly drone Hawaii? ›

Drones are allowed in Hawaii for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments.

Is it OK to fly drone in Japan? ›

Yes, tourists are allowed to fly drones in Japan, but it is necessary to apply to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism at least ten days in advance. Upon approval, they must follow all MLIT regulations and Japanese drone laws.

Which country has the most advanced drones? ›

China's domination of the global market for combat drones over the past decade is partly due to a vast state-funded effort that seeks to elevate the country's armed forces to “world class standards”.

What country sells the most drones? ›

Revenue of the drone market by country 2022

From the selected regions, the ranking by revenue in the drones segment of the consumer electronics market is led by China with 1.25 billion U.S. dollars and is followed by the United States (1.22 billion U.S. dollars).

What is China most advanced drone? ›

China is developing a new cutting-edge combat drone to operate alongside – and potentially match the speed of – its most advanced stealth fighter jet, the J-20 Mighty Dragon.


1. Chinese balloon shot down over Atlantic Ocean
(FOX 10 Phoenix)
2. ‘Massive modernisation’ of Chinese military seen over the last 20 years
(Sky News Australia)
3. What retired fighter pilot thinks about shooting down Chinese spy balloon
4. NATO Science | High-altitude balloon-borne radar
5. the ZOO of Chinese Military Drones.
(Millennium 7 * HistoryTech)
6. Pentagon: Chinese balloon part of global surveillance program | DW News
(DW News)


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