China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday published a video showing a “saucer-like” drone performing flying tests, and state-run media outlet Global Times claimed that the new drone’s stealth technology would allow it to fly undetected.
The Global Times, citing a CCTV report, said China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation had developed China’s first “flying wing” stealth drone, the Sky Hawk, conducted takeoff and landing tests at an undisclosed location and time. This was the first time the aircraft has been publicly seen in flight.
The drone, reportedly flew last February, but no video had been published before Saturday’s broadcast.
According to the CCTV video, the drone is capable of avoiding radar detection and penetrating deep behind enemy lines.
While most of the footage is computer-generated imaging of the plane, there is about ten seconds of real footage.
The video also shows the drone is equipped with China’s most advanced photo-electric aerial platform.
The platform contains seven different cameras, including an infrared camera and multispectral sensors.
With the wingspan of approximately 59 feet, the drone can reach a maximum cruising altitude of 24,600 feet and have a payload of 815 pounds.
In early November, the drone was displayed at the 2018 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition but was not flown there.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday that the drone is being developed and manufactured on schedule.
The CCTV report said the flying wing aerodynamic design is similar the US’ Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.
Military experts are expecting the drone will operate on China’s aircraft carriers, including those that employ electromagnetic catapults.
While the US’ Northrop Grumman X-47B stealth drone has already been tested, it should be of great concern to Pentagon officials that China’s modernization efforts are rapidly accelerating.