China presents its air arsenal in parade in Beijing
Chinese communist revolution turns 70 and unveils unmanned airplane designs and advanced aircraft
The celebration of the 70th anniversary of the communist revolution in China was attended by the traditional military parade in Beijing with the presence of the country’s president, Xi Jiping. The Chinese ‘parade’ was the scene for the unveiling of a huge aerial arsenal that, unlike recent Russian parades, not only featured models.
The Chinese demonstration began before the party on Tuesday, October 1, but even in rehearsals days before when several military aircraft flew over Beijing.
Although much of it is known in the West, it is rare to see so many airplane models at the same time. According to reports, the public can see the J-11, J-15 and J-20 fighters, the latter their first operational stealth jet, as well as transport models such as the Y-9 and the Y-20.
The Y-20 is an American C-17 and Russian Il-76 jet quad-engine and is manufactured by Xi’an which has delivered about 40 units to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since 2016.
The Y-9, in turn, a four-engine turboprop produced by Shaanxi and is based on Y-8, a licensed version of Antonov An-12. It is one of the most versatile aircraft of the Chinese military. In addition to the transport function, the Y-9 also features maritime air patrol variants, AWACS (KJ-500, with a radar similar to E-2), AEW (reminiscent of the Brazilian R-99), ELINT, ECM and even same psychological warfare.
Among the rotary-wing aircraft was the Harbin Z-8, a local version of the former French Super Frelon, the new Z-20, which closely resembles the American UH-60 Black Hawk, and the Z-10 attack helicopter. , which was developed with the help of Russian Kamov.
China has also unveiled a modernized Xian H-6, a local version of the famous Russian bomber Tupolev Tu-16 “Badger” but which has received an aerial refueling probe and a fuselage cavity that can carry some large missile.
But it was on the ground that came some of the parade surprises. One was the presence of the Hongdu GJ-11 “Lijian” (Sharp Sword), an unmanned stealth fighter jet. The aircraft first flew in 2013 and would already be part of the Chinese aircraft carrier arsenal.
Another unmanned aircraft to appear in Beijing was the DR-8, a supersonic spy drone capable of flying up to Mach 5. It was believed to be similar to the former US jet-powered D-21 drone, but the aircraft revealed to use rocket engines.
The parade that marked the 70th anniversary of the revolution also witnessed oddities such as the military hunting gyrocopter Shaanxi Baoji “Hunting Eagle”, whose mission is search and rescue, border control and reconnaissance, among other functions. After all, no air force lives only on stealth fighters and nuclear bombers…
Images reproduced from videos and photos in China