“First Real Image” Of Chinese Supersonic Drone Attached To Bomber  

Aviation observers have spotted a supersonic unmanned aerial vehicle under the fuselage of a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) bomber, Defense Blog reports. The new drone can conduct strategic aerial reconnaissance across southeast Asia.

Images of the WZ-8 reconnaissance drone attached to a Xian H-6 bomber surfaced on social media platform X last week. The rare sighting reminds us that PLAAF, the third largest air force in the world, is quickly modernizing its aircraft fleet to include drones as tensions with the US over Taiwan remain high.  

First revealed to the public in 2019, WZ-8 provides pre-strike targeting information and/or post-strike assessments. The drone can also conduct strategic aerial reconnaissance across southeast Asia, including Taiwan and South Korea. 

In a separate Defense Blog report, citing classified papers obtained by The Washington Post, a fleet of WZ-8 drones are stationed in newly built hangars in the Lu’an airbase in eastern China. This base allows the supersonic drones to be easily deployed to Taiwan and South Korea for intelligence-gathering missions while flying at an altitude of 30 kilometers – untouchable to some of the world’s most advanced air defense systems. 

As the world’s AI superpowers, China and the US, gear up for potential drone wars in the Indo-Pacific region, the rapid advancement of swarm technology will be critical for winning the next major conflict, along with hypersonic weapons. The deployment of these technologies comes as war rages on in Eastern Europe and flares up in the Middle East. Banker Jamie Dimon recently warned the world faces “risks that eclipse anything since World War II.” 

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