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Little Flying Dragons Of China

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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:






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.'


Oh, I see! In concept, its a D21 drone.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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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?

It is also meant to fly at extremely high altitude, in the 25-27 km range. Hence the enormous wingspan.

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Ive a hard time believing even that configuration could reach that altitude. That would put it well above a U-2 or RQ-4.

Yes I share your skepticism. Here is a proposed flight path from a paper published during the development phase:





Edited by KV7
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  • 4 weeks later...

J-20s with the serial number 87### are counted up to 12 in service. A recently spotted serial number is 62### with 62001 being the first one spotted. More recently 62005 and 62007 have been spotted. That suggest probably at least 7 J-20s with that serial number. So 12+7 making at least 19 in service as of now. The new serial numbered J-20s said to be heading to the 7th Air Brigade in Wuhan still have the older engine.



So I would guess maybe 8 or 12 for the 62### serial to make 24. And then the next batch of J-20s to use the newer engines like the one in the post above. The newer engines that have the serrated edges don't seem to be WS-15 though.

Edited by JasonJ
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An article on the China side about the green J-15 photo 2 posts above.



The latest batch of China's J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet is getting new, green priming paint instead of the previous yellow one. Reports speculate it is a new anti-corrosion material that can enhance the aircraft's capabilities.

A J-15, which is under assembly at the Shenyang Aircraft Company under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), can be seen covered in green priming paint in a set of photos released by the company on its website.

Previous J-15 fighter jets used yellow priming paint, according to multiple reports and documentaries.

The color change in the priming paint likely indicates that it features a new type of anti-corrosion material, Weihutang, a column on military affairs affiliated with China Central Television, reported on Tuesday.

Aircraft carrier-based aircraft usually have stronger wear and tear properties compared to land-based aircraft due to extended exposure to sea water, salt haze, muggy weather and exhaust gas, and the priming paint is a key material that can protect the aircraft's structure from being corroded and damaged, Weihutang reported.

This will contribute to an increase in the J-15's usage, lower maintenance costs and greater lifespan, the report said.

The Chinese Navy received the Shandong, its second aircraft carrier, in December 2019 and a third one is reportedly being built, so China needs more J-15s to fulfill this potential, analysts said.

It is nice to see the production of the J-15 is not being significantly delayed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Thursday.

The new priming paint shows that the J-15 is becoming more powerful, as it is being improved to boost the aircraft carriers' overall capability, the expert said.
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