China has announced the completion of its new stealth drone Feilong 2, claiming it could rival the US Air Force’s B-21 stealth bomber.
According to the South China Morning Post, Zhongtian Feilong Intelligent Technology – the Xian-based drone maker’s multirole high-subsonic UAV could be used for precision strikes on key assets such as enemy command centers, military airstrips, and aircraft carriers.
The Feilong-2 or Flying Dragon 2 could also be used with a swarm of drones to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance, a saturation attack, or damage assessment, it added.
Chinese company Zhongtian Feilong today unveiled first prototype of the Feilong-2 stealth drone. pic.twitter.com/65lg1DNe7y
— The A&O Board PSF (@AOBPSF) April 20, 2021
According to the developer, the Feilong-2 or Flying Dragon-2 has similar speed, attacking range, payload, and stealth capabilities as the Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider, which is expected to take its maiden flight by July next year.
However, compared to the American aircraft, the Chinese stealth drone is much cheaper to produce with a longer life expectancy. This gives an edge to the Chinese drone over American B-21 Raider.
“This means the American B-21 has already fallen behind, even before it enters service,” a company statement quoted by SCMP said.
With an operating range of 7,000 km and an internal payload capacity of 6 tons, the Feilong-2 has a top speed of 780 km/hour and can fly at an altitude of 49,000 feet. However, the size of the UAV is not known yet.
The stealth features of the drone include a special coating to reduce reflection and ease visibility whereas its optical and active radars help identify the target when the weather conditions are adverse.
The B-21 Raider of the US Air Force (USAF) is an advanced heavy bomber being developed by Northrop Grumman under its Long-Range Strike Bomber Program (LRS-B). The strategic bomber could deliver both conventional and thermonuclear weapons.
The biggest fear for the states during any military conflict is the loss of lives of the army personnel. With the developing technology, drones have come to use to carry out targeted attacks on the enemies while minimizing a military’s own casualties. This has become the military’s key defense mechanism.
With the tensions between China and the US rising, their militaries are moving fast towards developing the next generation weapons systems and upgrading their existing ones.