Defense News reporters obtained a photo of the Chinese WZ-8 supersonic drone. The drone is parked outside the new hangars at Lu’an Air Base in Anhui Province.
The People’s Republic of China is actively modernizing the air base where the PLA bombers are stationed. As you can see, there is also a hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle capable of flying at speeds of Mach 3 (over 3,700 km/h).
The image was taken by the Planet Labs satellite. Unfortunately, the image quality is poor.
The drone was unveiled in 2019. Three years later, the WZ-8 appeared at an airshow in China along with the YU-20 tanker plane.
The drone is able to operate in two modes. The first includes reconnaissance, reconnaissance and observation. In the second mode, the WZ-8 transforms into a high-speed missile aimed at destroying US aircraft carriers as well as the F-35 and F-22 fifth generation fighters.
The launch platform for the drone is the H-6 strategic bomber, which has a range of 8 thousand km. These aircraft are stationed at Lu’an Air Base in Anhui Province.
The modernization of the base began in the summer of 2018. The Chinese military intends to modernize the 3.2-kilometer-long runway pavement, expand the runways and build 20 hangars to house the bombers. There will also be two hangars at the base in place of open parking lots for aircraft.
And according to Decker Eveleth, a student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, China has already built ammunition-checking facilities at the base. They are checkpoints to check missiles and bombs before they are loaded onto planes.
Finally, satellite images were released last month of the WZ-8 at the Chinese base. Two drones were captured in the photos at once. The photos were taken on August 9 last year. It’s part of classified US intelligence documents leaked to Discord. However, its authenticity has not been confirmed. The documents indicate that China intends to use the WZ-8 to spy on US ships and military bases.