New photos of Chinese Soaring Dragon High Altitude Long Endurance drone emerge

New images of China’s Xianglong or Soaring Dragon unmanned aerial drone were released on the Chinese internet.

Showing the drone from both sides and from the rear, the photos would be the newest of the top secret project.

Although the images are dated Jan. 13 that could be the date the photos were first uploaded to the various defense forums and websites. Still, they show an aircraft that seems flight ready although there are no reports of it having made its first flight which was thought to have been planned for 2009.

Richard Clements for


Image credit: Chinese Internet

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  1. There is something very odd about this series of photographs and others seen elsewhere. I’m curious about the pile of bricks/timber it is sitting on in place of a normal undercarriage. As the photo angle varies the supporting piles stay in the same place. Dummy/mock-up/prop to allow those ‘secret’ pictures to be taken? Who knows.

  2. It may be on a RCS measurement range rather than an airfield. In such a context you would certainly want it sitting on a pile of as-close-to-no-RCS-as-possible stuff rather than it’s landing gear so you could measure the RCS in flight configuration. In landing configuration the returns from the gear and gear wells is likely to completely dominate over the reduced RCS fuselage, so you wouldn’t get any operationally useful data.

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