It was another big week for China’s aerospace industry. Leaked photos, apparently taken in Chengdu, confirmed the existence of a large Unmanned Aerial Vehicle sporting a rare “joined-wing” configuration.
“U.S. analysts are already suggesting that the new Chinese UAV design – with its 60,000-foot. cruising altitude, 300-mile radar surveillance range and, possibly, lower radar reflectivity if made from the right composites – could serve as the targeting node for China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles,” journalist and aviation expert Bill Sweetman wrote.
Just a few days earlier, the Japanese Defense Ministry published a photo of a small UAV that could represent China’s first operational drone. The roughly 12-foot-long aircraft was spotted flying over a Chinese warship during the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s annual training cruise in the Pacific Ocean.
Equally revealing was a state-sponsored profile of one of the people behind China’s rapid development as an air power. The article, in the official Science and Technology Daily journal, summarized the career of Yang Wei, chief developer of several of China’s recent fighter designs, possibly including the J-20 stealth fighter that appeared for the first time on Christmas Day.