Divine Eagle: How much of a threat is China’s new high-flying drone to US air superiority?

Yesterday the press doubted China and Russia’s ability to pose a serious challenge. Today they’re 50-50. Tomorrow there’s likely to be no question.

 

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The US has led the way in the use of stealth aircraft in combat. Now the game could soon be up, as scientists in China and Russia are discovering ways to make the invisible visible. Mark Piesing reports

In May, grainy pictures emerged of a huge new twin-fuselage, high-altitude Chinese drone called the Divine Eagle. Those in the know instantly labelled it the “stealth-hunting drone”. Stealth technology is the equivalent of electronic camouflage for planes, making them hard for enemy radar to spot – but the Chinese drone is certainly big enough to carry the special radars developed to detect stealth aircraft. It’s able to fly high enough to detect them long before they can reach their targets. Its radar is rumoured to have been able to pick out an American stealth F-22 Raptor off the coast of South Korea almost 500km away. Continue reading