China continues its military modernization plan and unveils the new hypersonic WZ-8 combat drone

(To Stefano Marras)

The 1 October 2019 first appeared during the military parade for the commemoration of the 70 years of the People's Republic of China in Beijing, the new WZ-8 combat drone represents a decisive reinforcement to the operational capabilities of the Chinese armed forces.

Assigned to the 30th air regiment operating from the Luhe-Ma'an area base, the WZ-8 has been classified as a "high-altitude, high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)", meaning a high-flying drone speed and high latitude for aerial survey and data collection tasks. It is therefore an advanced version of the classic reconnaissance and aerial surveillance drones, able to offer the People's Liberation Army a better ability to identify and engage enemy targets.

This task, in fact, is generally entrusted to specific satellites, which however have the disadvantage of being detected by the enemy, which in turn can carry out misdirection maneuvers or can attempt to shoot them down using anti-satellite missiles.

For its part, the WZ-8, thanks to the low radar observability and the ability to reach hypersonic speeds of over mach-6, is considered almost impossible to break down even with the most modern missile systems, thus giving the Chinese armed forces a decisive increase in the operational capacity to obtain data and information, indispensable for the use of its missile systems, such as the DF-26. The WZ-8 therefore represents only another small piece within a broader military modernization plan of China, aimed at giving it a tactical and technological parity with the United States, and guaranteeing it that degree of security and military hegemony in the region , essential for any great power.

Photo: IRNA