China test-flies unmanned reconnaissance drone
China has test-flown a locally developed unmanned aerial vehicle, the Xianglong or Soaring Dragon, Kyodo News Service reported Wednesday, quoting the private military research institute, Kanwa Information Center, headquartered in Canada.
In an analysis of satellite photos, the center said that at least one Soaring Dragon was test-flown at Plant No. 132 of Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corp., an aircraft manufacturing arm of the People’s Liberation Army, in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
It added that it could not confirm whether the drone had already been deployed. A newspaper affiliated with the People’s Daily recently revealed a photograph of the aircraft on a runway, citing a military group website on July 4.
The drone is the Chinese version of Global Hawk as it looks like the U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle. It is capable of flying up to Guam, the territory of the United States, as well as Korea and Japan. Kyodo News Service reported that Xianglong is 14.3 meters long, 25 meters wide and 5.4 meters high. It can cruise at 750 kilometers an hour and is capable of covering up to 7,000 kilometers. It can fly at an altitude of 1,800 meters, equipped with reconnaissance devices weighing up to 650 kilograms.
The Global Hawk’s flight duration is 36 hours and it can fly for about 23,000 kilometers. Korea has been seeking to import the drone, as is Japan.