The Chinese government revealed its new supersonic spy plane during a military parade rehearsal for the 70th-anniversary parade of the Communist takeover of the country on Oct. 1.
The DR-8, or Wuzhen 8, was revealed for the first time this weekend, just two weeks away from the National Day parade, the South China Morning Post reports. Also photographed there was the Sharp Sword stealth attack drone.
With a speed reportedly faster than Mach 3.3 (more than 2500 miles per hour), the DR-8 is expected to play a key role in a potential conflict with the U.S. military in the South China Sea, which has continued to raise tensions between the countries.
The Chinese military plans to display some of its nuclear weapons in a military parade as “warning message” to the United States.
“China has invested a lot of resources into military science and technology development in a bid to enhance its nuclear deterrence capability over the past years, which Beijing believes represents a strategic measure in countering the global military hegemony [of the United States],” Hong Kong-based military analyst Song Zhongping said.
There are several weapon systems, such as the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles and J-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles slated to be on the display at the parade. A squadron of J-20 jets, the country’s first stealth fighter, is also said to be on display there.
This development comes at a time of rising tensions between the nations, as China has released a white paper on the future of its defense initiatives.
China’s National Defense in the New Era was released on July 22. It is considered to be the most far-reaching military reform in the country since the 1950s – when the nation took “The Great Leap Forward,” propelling the nation to a communist state and killing 45 million people.
The white paper highlights a new emphasis on “combat readiness and military training in real combat conditions,” the Japan Times reported.
Beijing “has organized naval parades in the South China Sea,” the white paper said, and “conducted a series of live force-on-force exercises.”
Its air force “has conducted combat patrols in the South China Sea and security patrols in the East China Sea, and operated in the West Pacific.”
Additionally, the U.S. military equipped the USS Gabrielle Giffords with a powerful new missile to help U.S. forces in the Pacific region.
“The Pentagon is building a military force that can operate on a more sustainable basis and has a better chance of fighting and surviving within the [Chinese’] deadly anti-access, area denial envelope,” said Rand Corp. senior defense analyst Timothy Heath.