Chinese military drone spotted flying close to the Philippines ahead of BrahMos delivery from India

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NEW DELHI: A WZ-7 Soaring Dragon drone belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was spotted flying in close proximity to the Philippines, ahead of preparations by the Southeast Asian country to receive the delivery of Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
The drone’s distinctive joined-wing shape caught the attention of Raffy Tima, a correspondent for Philippine news organization GMA News, as it traversed the skies over the West Philippine Sea.
This sighting comes amidst escalating tensions between China and the Philippines over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, notably at the Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal. The timing is particularly significant as the Philippines prepares to receive the delivery of Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, perceived as a strategic move to bolster defensive capabilities against China’s assertiveness in the region.
Procured under the ‘Horizon 2’ Priority Projects aimed at modernizing the Philippine armed forces, the BrahMos missile system arrived in Manila on April 19. The delivery, facilitated through a government-to-government (G2G) deal, includes three missile batteries, operator and maintainer training, and an Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package.
The coincidence of the WZ-7 drone sighting with the arrival of Indian transport planes carrying the BrahMos missiles raises eyebrows. This occurrence precedes the commencement of the ‘Balikatan 2024’ drills between the Philippines and the US.
The WZ-7, operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), boasts a service ceiling of over 60,000 feet and a range of about 4,350 miles. Its sighting near the Philippines echoes previous instances of its presence near Taiwan amid tensions between China and the island.
As military exercises loom, with activities including target ship sinking and island reclamation, the deployment of the new Typhon ground-based missile system by the US on the northern Philippine island of Luzon raises concerns for China.

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