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Little Flying Dragons Of China


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Yeah, its got the near standard Tu16 inlets and cockpit, it must be fairly knocking on that one.

 

Yeah, the newer builds (K and above) all remove the glazed nose and chin radar for a nose mounted set. That H-6 is probably like the really old B-52 NASA keeps around for their tests.

 

 

I idly wonder if its a Soviet built one, which would be a real prize if it were.

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Large UAV of some kind followed by 4 loiter UAVs

 

The small ones behind are very similar to some of the ones Iran is alleged to have used on the Saudi oil plant.

 

Nice looking drone. The Chinese really do build some nice looking kit these days.

 

 

The small ones look like these "anti-radiation ones" which devived from Israeli "Harpy".

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=42770&p=1443894

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Large UAV of some kind followed by 4 loiter UAVs

uavplus4mini1.jpg

 

uavplus4mini2.jpg

 

The small ones behind are very similar to some of the ones Iran is alleged to have used on the Saudi oil plant.

 

Nice looking drone. The Chinese really do build some nice looking kit these days.

 

 

They do, it must be admitted. I would like to see Japan doing the same versus paying others to do it for them.

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The exhaust doesn't seem large enough to actually support that airframe either, but I'm not an engineer. Apparently most technical assements of the DF-17s is that they were mock ups, which seems odd in that the system was supposed to have entered service a year ago.

 

ETA: Actually looking at X-47B, which seems of roughly comparable size, I guess that would be a practical size. I thought on the X-47B the exhaust flared more.

Edited by Josh
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Another image came up, a close shot of the underside of an H-6N, thedrive was quick in coming out with an article on it.

H-6Nunderside.jpg

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29975/new-photos-point-to-chinese-bomber-being-able-to-carry-huge-anti-ship-ballistic-missiles

Ive been rethinking this image. The images I can find of DF-21 show a missile of uniform width - that recessed space isnt nearly long enough to accommodate the full length of DF-21. So Im having a hard time seeing how it would attach. It looks like the recess is for something much shorter than DF-21 or something that at least tapers in its second stage. Maybe DF-17.

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I thought the shape was kind of shallow or just not quite right. Maybe there's a middleman expendable connector between the aircraft and BM?

 

Or the air launched version is going to be a short version of the DF-21. Well who knows with the lack of their transperancy.

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The more I think about it, the more I think that DR-8 drone is a rocket powered recoverable rece platform that gets carried close to the target by H-6N. But it could just be some other BM instead. I still think DF-21 is unlikely due to size and weight. Just having enough ground clearance on take off would be difficult. I think a landing glide slope would be impossible, though that would explain why you never see them attached.

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The more I think about it, the more I think that DR-8 drone is a rocket powered recoverable rece platform that gets carried close to the target by H-6N. But it could just be some other BM instead. I still think DF-21 is unlikely due to size and weight. Just having enough ground clearance on take off would be difficult. I think a landing glide slope would be impossible, though that would explain why you never see them attached.

This is the consensus view - except that it is rumored to be airbreathing - using a chin mounted intake.

 

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3027534/china-unveils-supersonic-spy-drone-during-national-day-military

Edited by KV7
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The exhaust looked almost like nozzles to me rather than typical jet exhaust, but I havent found a clear picture from behind.

Sorry you are right, it does appear to be rocket powered - though this obviously clashes with the claim it's top speed is mach ~ 3.5 or so. Note the clearly visible mounting brackets.

 

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30121/chinas-high-speed-recon-drone-is-rocket-powered-and-all-about-doing-what-satellites-cant

 

https%3A%2F%2Fs3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com

Edited by KV7
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Wow, those are really sharp pics! So it looks like an air launched, rocket powered, recoverable drone? Perhaps an H-6N flies it to a launch point outside of a opponent task force radar coverage to allow it to make a high speed run through air defenses to ID targets. There after it could glide home to a forward airbase, or just not be recovered. The size and weight of this vehicle are probably a much better fit for the H-6's payload capacity and fuselage recess than DF-21.

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At the risk of making a ridiculous claim, is it at all possible this is supposed to fly in space, ala the X37 spaceplane? The shape almost has a reentry vehicle look to it.

This is discussed in the article:

 

'A pair of small open-cycle, liquid-fueled, rocket engines can be seen configured in a side-by-side arrangement on the aircraft displayed. It is unclear if these engines would be reusable or if they are just single-use. We also don't know their exact fuel type, but being rocket-powered, this craft could have the potential to climb to extreme altitudes, potentially nearing the edge of space. It could then use the speed and altitude it has acquired to continue on a quasi-ballistic trajectory before turning toward its recovery location once in thicker air and eventually gliding in for a landing. So we are not talking about something that is necessarily limited to SR-71/A-12/D-21 altitudes or kinetic performance here.

 

A big question is how could it control itself above altitudes where traditional flight control surfaces are no longer useful? Without a reaction control system of thrusters, which it does not have, it would probably be limited to flight below roughly 140,000 feet. With thrust vectoring, this may be able to be increased for a short period of time, but based on what I can see in the images, its engines do not appear to have such a capability.

 

With all this in mind, I believe this aircraft was built to fly primarily at the very upper reaches of where traditional control surfaces are effective, and maybe slightly beyond on a ballistic arch, for a brief period of time. This is still quite high— even at 135,000 feet, Mach 3.42 is 2,500 mph. When it comes to how fast this craft can go, it remains unclear. But high supersonic range would be my guess—somewhere between Mach 3.5 and Mach 4.5. Mach 4.5 at 135,000 feet is 3,285 mph. That isn't quite hypersonic, but it is amazingly fast.'

 

 

 

Edited by KV7
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From the comments:

'Interesting to note is that there are photos from the parade with one of the WZ-8's wearing a serial number 21311 which would mean its operated by the 10th bomber division which flies the H6-M bomber that's the carry aircraft for launching this vehicle. This divisions geographic location faces Taiwan and Japan making it perfect for missions over the East and South China Sea. Another thing to add is that this serial number seems to be on some photos of the WZ-8 and not on others. If you look at the pics in Tyler's article the number can't be seen but if we look at the photo from the Chinese internet on Rupprecht's twitter site you can see the number. Either the number has been censored out for release to the west or its been added to make it seem that the WZ-8 is deployed and operational when perhaps its not.'

And here is Janes:


https://www.janes.com/article/91701/images-suggest-wz-8-uav-in-service-with-china-s-eastern-theatre-command

'

Five-digit serial numbers adhering to the format 21x1x indicate that the platforms bearing them, including some H-6M strategic bombers, are operated by the 10th Bomber Division (30th Air Regiment) within the Eastern Theatre Command, which faces Taiwan and Japan. For the 1 October parade, however, the serial numbers on these two WZ-8 UAVs were either removed or at least covered.'

Edited by KV7
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Isnt a drone in this class a little redundant with the Soar Dragon? It also has a very less efficient aerodynamic look to it, but I assume the goal is larger payload - probably a pair of side looking radars. And redundant satellite uplinks?

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Isnt a drone in this class a little redundant with the Soar Dragon? It also has a very less efficient aerodynamic look to it, but I assume the goal is larger payload - probably a pair of side looking radars. And redundant satellite uplinks?

 

 

Chinese documents designate the precursor as an 'Drone anti-stealth at high altitude and long endurance' project. It is pretty heavy apparently, ~15 t.

 

Early options for the airframe:

 

EH2YVZCIBFARXJBLUCFEXO2B3Y.jpg

 

Another speculative outline:

 

2927330A00000578-3101268-image-a-2_14328

Edited by KV7
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