Highly Impressive Lineup Of Chinese Air Combat Drone Types Caught By Satellite

A satellite image that was posted on Chinese internet shows an impressive lineup of the Chinese military aerial drones, some of which are in development while others are operational. The lineup occurred at Malan Air Base, a known hub of testing for these types of systems. The image is yet another stark reminder of how China is betting big on unmanned aerial military capabilities, from high-end unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) to swarms of small expendable drones

The lineup includes China’s two high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) drones, the Devine Eagle and Soar Eagle (green arrows). It also includes the Wing Loong series of Predator and Reaper-like and the smaller Rainbow remotely pilot vehicles (blue arrows). China’s two most prominent stealthy flying-wing drones are also present, including the large Sharp Sworn UCAV and the smaller surveillance oriented type known as the Tian Ying that has been displayed publicly in the past (red arrows). We also see the jet-powered Cloud Shadow (black arrow) and no less than three Tengden TB001 twin-boom medium-altitude, long-endurance drones (yellow arrows).

Chinese Internet

A pair of Insitu-like catapult or rocket-assisted launch drones also appear to be in the lineup (pink arrows), along with two groups of small mass swarming drones (brown arrows), and a couple of assorted individual smaller types that are unidentifiable. A drone helicopter is in the lineup, too (gray arrow). China has a wide variety of these in development, such as the SVU-200. Finally, the arrowhead-shaped, rocket-powered, very-high-speed WZ-08 is also present in the impressive display (orange arrow).  

Remember these are just some of the unmanned systems China has chosen to show the world in the past. There are many more Chinese unmanned aircraft projects, some of which remain semi-out of sight or entirely undisclosed. 

A big hat-tip to @RupprechtDeino, a fantastic Twitter account to follow, for finding the image. 

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler’s passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.