A new, apparently very fast drone type made its first public appearance at a rehearsal for a national celebration in Beijing on Sept. 21, 2019. The long, narrow unmanned aerial vehicle, reportedly designated DR-8, or Wuzhen 8, appears to be configured for supersonic flight. It likely is a reconnaissance craft.

The DR-8 appeared on a trailer during a rehearsal for Oct. 1, 2019 celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

“The DR-8 would be expected to play a key role should there be a conflict with U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China Sea or Western Pacific,” South China Morning Post reported.

The reconnaissance drone’s appearance at the rehearsal drew attention partly because it loosely resembles a supersonic UAV that was retired by the US more than four decades ago – the D-21.

Lockheed D 21

The US used the drone for spying missions in China and a number of them crashed during operations, leaving their remnants scattered in various locations across the country. One of the crashed D-21s was put on display at Beijing’s Military Museum a few years ago.

The DR-8 reconnaissance drone has a role in assessing the strike impact of China’s “aircraft carrier killer,” the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, and the DF-26 ballistic missile.

According to Zhou Chenming, a Beijing-based military commentator, the DR-8 could travel faster than the D-21 – whose maximum speed is Mach 3.3 – letting it penetrate the enemy’s air defenses and return intact with intelligence.

The PLA had been using the drone – which can reach strategic locations as far away as the Western Pacific, including Guam – for some time, according to Shanghai-based military commentator Shi Lao.

“In fact, this UAV [the DR-8] entered into service a while ago,” Shi said.

Sources: National Interest; South China Morning Post

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2019/09/27/chinas-supersonic-spy-drone-appears-during-national-day-military-parade-rehearsal/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.