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China Unveils New High-Speed Recce Drone, Hypersonic Missile

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China Unveils New High-Altitude, High-Speed Reconnaissance Drone WZ-8

(Source: Global Times; published Oct. 01, 2019)

China unveils for the first time its high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance drone, the WZ-8, at the National Day parade held in Beijing on October 1, 2019. Paraded on trucks, it is in fact designed for launch from an aircraft. (GT photo)

China unveiled for the first time its high-altitude, high-speed drone, the WZ-8, at the National Day parade in Beijing, and Chinese experts said that the drone can provide more reliable reconnaissance data than satellites.

Uniquely shaped like a dagger with small wings, the reconnaissance drone is likely able to fly at a high-supersonic speed and have stealth capabilities, military analysts said.

Trucks carried the aircraft as a part of the unmanned weaponry phalanx in the parade.
The drone is likely launched in the air via a bomber or transport aircraft, military analysts said.
The biggest advantage of the drone is that it can effectively gather intelligence in real time in a controllable way compared to other platforms like satellites, Wu Jian, editor of Defense Weekly under Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News, told the Global Times.
A satellite must travel along its orbit and conduct reconnaissance only when it is above the target, Wu said, pointing out that this can be calculated by the enemy, and can create fake intelligence.

A high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance drone will not have this problem, Wu said, noting that the drone will also act as a soft deterrence, giving the message that the Chinese military can engage in reconnaissance on its targets, so can it launch strikes on them.


DF-17 Ballistic Missile Makes Debut at National Day Parade

(Source: Global Times; published Oct. 01, 2019)

China showcased the new DF-17, a ballistic missile said to be hypersonic with a very high defense penetration capability, for the first time at the National Day parade on Tuesday, with Chinese military expert saying that it is almost impossible to be intercepted by enemies.

The DF-17 is a very recently developed type of short to medium-range missile.

It will play a vital role in safeguarding China's territorial integrity, as regions including the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and Northeast Asia are all within its striking range, Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times, noting that South Korea has been deploying the THAAD air defense system and Japan is fielding SM-3 interceptor missiles, which are security threats to China.
The DF-17 missile features a hypersonic glide vehicle as its warhead, which can travel at 10 times the speed of sound, UK-based media outlet Daily Mail reported in June.

The very high speed leaves enemies with little time to react, military observers noted.

Unlike traditional ballistic missiles, the DF-17 can change its trajectory in mid-flight, giving enemies a minimal chance of intercepting it, Yang said.

If hostile air defense systems like THAAD, SM-3 and Patriot get the chance to capture the DF-17's launch and prepare for its arrival in advance, there is some possibility of interception, but this rarely happens since a launch in actual combat will be done secretly, Yang said.

Other countries have also been developing hypersonic weapons, like the US AGM-183A and Russian Avangard missiles.


Speculation Rife About DF-17 After Video Shows Hypersonic Vehicle

(Source: Global Times; published Oct. 01, 2019)

China's missile manufacturing giant showcased hypersonic boost-glide vehicles in a recent animated video, and media reports speculate that the weapon might be the DF-17 of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force.

Such weapons, which Russia and the US are developing, are very difficult to intercept due to their hypersonic speed and high mobility, experts said Monday.

The animated video, released by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) on its social media platform Douyin account, shows the launch of multiple boost-glide vehicles, which reenter the atmosphere and hit an underground command center.

This is the first time the company has shown a simulated animation on a boost-glide vehicle, Passion News, a media outlet under k618.cn, a news portal run by the Communist Youth League of China Central Committee, reported on Sunday.

A boost-glide vehicle, which is essentially a warhead, is stored in the nose of a missile, and will be released once the rocket booster sends it fast and high enough. It will then fly over the upper edge of the atmosphere, changing directions frequently, which makes it very difficult to intercept by anti-missile systems, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.

Such a glide vehicle flies at hypersonic speeds, so the enemy has little time to react, Wei noted.

Russia's Avangard and the US' AGM-183A missiles also use similar technologies.

Citing analysts, Passion News said the weapon in the CASIC video could be the DF-17 of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force, as reports said the DF-17 missile uses a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle as its warhead.

The Chinese military has not yet announced any hypersonic glide vehicle deployment.