Reports that China could be developing a new hypersonic aircraft could be Xi Jinping’s “big present” to Barack Obama during the Chinese president’s first full state visit to the United States this week, says Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet.
On Friday, a report surfaced claiming that the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) had completed a successful test flight of an unspecified new aircraft, adding that it was a breakthrough in hypersonic aircraft technology.
The report was deleted shortly after, fueling speculation that China could be developing its own version of America’s SR-71 Blackbird, a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft
A Chinese military expert who uses the online handle KKTT believes that AVIC is developing a new high-altitude, hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle requiring a carrier aircraft such as an H-6 twin-engine bomber. The drone will be launched once it is carried to a high enough altitude and will climb by itself to cruising altitude before traveling at hypersonic speed, KKTT said, adding that the drone will be able to return to base itself.
News of the secret drone comes amid suggestions that the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute is also developing two high-altitude, high-speed UAVs. Leaked satellite photos revealed that one of them is about 10m long with a winspan [sic] of around 6m. Though the size is similar to that of the D-21, the external appearance is said to be closer to the America’s retired X-15 hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft.
Full article: News of hypersonic drone could be Xi’s ‘gift’ to Obama: Duowei (Want China Times)