China trolls Taiwan with its stealth UAV 'Soaring Dragon' and civilian drones
Taiwan's military has detected the Chinese UAV WZ-7 "Soaring Dragon" for the first time in the country's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The military tracked five Chinese warships and 26 Chinese military aircraft around Taiwan on Thursday, and among two types of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was the WZ-7 Soaring Dragon, according to a report published by Taiwan News.
"26 Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft and five ships had been detected around Taiwan. Of these, two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and two Xi'an JH-7 fighter bombers crossed the median line," announced Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND).
"One Guizhou BZK-007 drone flew just off the southwestern edge of the median line, and four Shenyang J-16 fighters, one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare plane, and one Guizhou WZ-7 Soaring Dragon entered the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ."
In response, the Taiwanese Air Force dispatched combat air patrol planes, issued radio alerts, and tracked the Chinese aircraft with land-based anti-aircraft missiles.
According to MND data, the WZ-7's presence is noteworthy because this is the first time it has been seen encroaching on Taiwan's ADIZ.
The WZ-7 Soaring Dragon is a High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) vehicle that is functionally and aesthetically comparable to the American Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The BZK-007 and WZ-7's arrival is part of a trend of escalating Chinese drone "intrusions" into Taiwan's ADIZ in the East China Sea, noted the report.
It is still unclear whether China would switch from manned to unmanned aircraft for its ADIZ "incursions" or whether a combination of the two is in the works.
What is HALE WZ-7?
The Chinese WZ-7, also known as Soaring Dragon, is a High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drone type.
The Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation drone, which was created by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, was unveiled for the first time to the public during the 2021 edition of the Zhuhai Airshow in China.
WZ-7 is allegedly one of the biggest reconnaissance drones in the world, according to information published by the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
The drone can supply information to ballistic missile launchers like the Chinese DF-21D. It is claimed to have advanced combat communication and electronic jamming gear that can be employed as a high-altitude communication transmission class. WZ-7 can also fly to the fleet of the adversary to activate electronic jamming gear.
The Guizhou WP-13 turbojet engine, which is positioned at the rear of the drone and has its air intake mounted on the upper section of the fuselage, powers the WZ-7. The drone has a maximum range of 7,000 km and a cruise speed of 750 km/h.
It is 5.41 meters tall, 14.33 meters long, and has a wingspan of 24.86 meters. The WZ-7 can carry 650 kg of payload and has a flight endurance of ten hours.
Chinese civilian drones 'mock' Taiwan's military
Meanwhile, on Saturday, a series of brief video clips appeared on the Chinese social media website Weibo showing Chinese civilian drones "mocking Taiwan's military," reported CNN.
Taiwanese military later confirmed that these alleged threats are, in fact, domestic drones from China.
Drone invasions occur amid rising tensions following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August visit to Taiwan, in August.