China unveils its first STEALTH SPY DRONE that can fly 40 hours without refuelling and scout ground targets from 9,800 feet

A Chinese drone maker released the first-ever footage of the stealth spy drone. Unmanned warplane 'Sky Hawk' is invisible to radar and can reach 24,600 feet. It's able to take a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at 9,800 feet. It's Beijing's fourth stealth drone after 'Star Shadow', 'Sharp Sword' and 'CH-805'

by Tracy You

China has unveiled its first stealth spy drone that is invisible to radar and can fly 40 hours without refuelling.

The 'Sky Hawk' warplane is capable of taking a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at the altitude of 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), according to its developer.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been kept as a top secret by Beijing, and this is the first time any footage of it has been released.

The 'Sky Hawk', or Tianying in Chinese, is the brainchild of Sea Hawke General Aviation Equipment Company Ltd, which was set up in 2012 by state-run China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation to develop and manufacture military drones.


  • Wingspan: 18m (59ft)
  • Weight: 400kg (880lbs)
  • Maximum cruising altitude: 7,500m (24,600ft)
  • Maximum take-off load: 1.5 tons
  • Maximum load: 370kg (815lbs)
  • Maximum flight time without refuelling: 40 hours 
  • Manufacturers: Sea Hawke General Aviation Equipment Company Ltd.; China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation 

The plane is capable of avoiding radar detection and penetrating key enemy targets in a 'highly threatening battling environment', says Sea Hawke in a post on Chinese social media on New Year's Day.

The post also released the first video of the spy drone.

While the majority of the footage uses computer-generated imaging of the plane, it contains a 10-second real-life clip which captures the drone taking off from an airport in an unspecified location.

The drone is equipped with China's most advanced photo-electric aerial platform, according to the plane's deputy designer Wang Jianping, who spoke to China Central Television Station

The platform contains seven different cameras, including an infrared camera and a multi-spectral camera, all of which can turn 360 degrees while spying on enemies without being captured by radar.

A prototype of the drone was shown during an airshow in Zhuhai, China, last November

The drone is capable of taking a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at 9,800 feet. The drone is said to be equipped with China's most advanced photo-electric aerial platform. With a wingspan of 18 metres (59 feet), the plane can reach a maximum cruising altitude of 7,500 metres (24,600 feet) and carry 370 kilograms (815 pounds) of goods. Its maximum take-off load is 1.5 tons.

The 'Sky Hawk' is the fourth stealth drone China has unveiled and was kept as a top secret.

Before the latest video, the prototype was only shown to the public once during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai last November.

China Central Television Station reported that a factory in Taizhou, eastern China's Zhejiang Province, started building a prototype of the plane in November, 2017. Last February, its developer Sea Hawke announced that the drone had completed its first flight a month before.

The company also released a picture to show its staff posing in front of the 'Sky Hawk' prototype, but the plane was purposefully obscured.

At the time, the plane's chief designer Ma Hongzhong said: '80 per cent of the technologies used in the Sky Hawk are new, including some that are the world's firsts.'

Chinese scientists announced last March they had built an assembly line to mass produce cutting-edge 'super materials' that could render objects invisible. 

It was widely speculated at the time that the 'super materials' would be used on the country's warplanes, particularly the J-20 stealth fighter jets which were paraded to the public at a flyby last November.

They are the 'Star Shadow', an attack drone developed by privately owned UAV company Star; 'Sharp Sword' which is said to be able to carry up to two tonnes of bombs; and the CH-805, or Rainbow-805 which is designed to be a target drone for the training of Chinese Air Force soldiers.