China has moved new war tech closer to Taiwan in another strong sign of their intention to invade the island, according to a leaked document. Other reports from the recently leaked trove of top secret files show Beijing successfully tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile which has a “high probability” of penetrating US air defences.
The document, first reported by The Washington Post, is part of a larger scandal which has marred the US intelligence community after 21-year-old Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira allegedly posted classified reports to the gaming chat server Discord.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency report includes satellite imagery which shows two WZ-8 rocket-propelled reconnaissance drones parked 350 miles inland from Shanghai, well within range of the seas surrounding Taiwan and US ally South Korea.
The cutting-edge drones could be used to carry out real-time mapping of a combat situation and guide Chinese missiles aimed at US and Taiwanese warships defending the island.
Other leaked documents paint a bleak picture of Taiwan’s defence, according to the paper. The reports claim Taiwanese officials believe the island’s air defences couldn’t “accurately detect [incoming] missile launches” and that it would take at least a week to move its fighter jets to hardened shelters.
READ MORE: US journalist Evan Gershkovich set to remain behind bars in Russia
If Beijing were to launch a pre-emptive strike, it could effectively wipe out large parts of Taiwan’s fighter capabilities giving China early air superiority in an all-out war.
The stealthy WZ-8 drones could be used to help guide such a pre-emptive strike crippling Taiwan’s defences.
According to the leaked documents, the drones would be released over the East China Sea by H6-M Badger bombers before climbing to a height of 100,000 feet and travelling three times the speed of sound.
Although the report doesn’t state how the drone is propelled it notes its “engine features are primarily associated with rocket fuel”.
The drone is believed to be for surveillance and guidance but it could be modified to carry out strikes and US air-to-air missiles may struggle to hit the stealthy, fast-moving target.
China has also successfully tested a new hypersonic missile the DF-27, according to a top-secret report compiled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence directorate on February 28.
The new missile is described as a hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile and is part of the Dongfeng series, all of which are capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
The leaked report states there is a “high probability” the missiles could penetrate US ballistic missile defences. As a hypersonic glide vehicle, it is capable of changing trajectory mid-flight meaning it could be extremely difficult to shoot down.
The files claim “the DF-27 is designed to enhance [China’s] ability to hold targets at risk beyond the Second Island Chain and possesses a high probability of penetrating US” defences.
The leaks come amid soaring tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen recently visited Washington to meet with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
The high-profile visit enraged Beijing which retaliated with three days of war games surrounding the island. During the exercises, Chinese forces simulated striking “foreign military targets”.
The thinly veiled threat appeared to be a reference to US and allied warships which could be protecting Taiwan in the event of an attempted invasion.
Follow our social media accounts here on facebook.com/ExpressUSNews and @expressusnews