China has for the first time released video showing its latest stealth drone in flight, state media said Sunday.
China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday ran video featuring the “saucer-like” Sky Hawk drone, and state-run Global Times claimed that the new drone’s cutting-edge technology will allow it to fly faster, farther and escape detection.
The Global Times, quoting the CCTV report, said the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.-developed drone, known as the Sky Hawk, had conducted the flight test at an undisclosed location in the country. Video showed the drone taking off and landing, marking the first time that the aircraft has been publicly seen in flight, according to the reports.
The drone reportedly made its maiden flight last February, but no video had been published before Saturday’s broadcast. It was also displayed at the Airshow China 2018 in the city of Zhuhai, near Macau, in November, but was not flown there.
With a flying wing aerodynamic design similar to the United States’ B-2 stealth bomber, the Sky Hawk “is a high-altitude, long-range and high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle capable of undertaking reconnaissance and patrol missions in hostile environments,” CCTV reported.
Experts have predicted that the drone will also operate on China’s future aircraft carriers, including those that employ electromagnetic catapults.
The U.S. has already developed the X-47B stealth drone and run experimental operations on aircraft carriers, though that project was suspended in favor of a stealth tanker drone.
Based on the images taken last year at Zhuhai, the drone appears to be similar in shape to the X-44A drone which was recently unveiled by Lockheed Martin.
Observers have said the Chinese drone is likely to have a wingspan of around 35 feet (just over 10 meters).