Flying wing aircraft over the Philippines is likely from the US, not China: expert
Published: Sep 06, 2021 01:37 AM
A US B-2 stealth bomber (right) flies over a US air base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. Two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers flew what the US military described as “deterrence” missions over South Korea on Thursday, as part of the South Korea-US joint military exercise (see story on page 2). Photo: AFP

A US B-2 stealth bomber (right) flies over a US air base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. File Photo: AFP

A US media report on Saturday said that a mysterious flying wing aircraft was recently photographed over the Philippines, leading to speculations that the stealth aircraft could belong to the military of the US or China since the Philippines sits in a strategic location between the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea.

By speculating the aircraft belongs to China, the US report aimed to shift the blame and obtain more information on China's advanced military projects, a Chinese expert said on Sunday noting that if the image is real, the aircraft is likely from the US.

Citing a photo taken by landscape photographer Michael Fugnit in the Philippines on Thursday, US media outlet reported that an aircraft flying in Santa Magdalena on that day resembled a stealth flying wing design, with a diamond-shaped fuselage, slender wings a centralized exhaust potentially featuring twin engines and a ventral fuselage bulge.

The Philippines sits between the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea, two contentious and highly surveilled bodies of water that regularly see large amounts of military activity, especially Chinese and American, the report said, adding that the aircraft looks like the so-called US' RQ-180 Sentinel high-altitude, long-endurance, very low-observable drone, or maybe the US' RQ-170 drone.

Without authenticating the image, the report also speculated that the aircraft could be from China, since China also has a large number of ongoing stealth flying wing aircraft programs.

The US media report likely has ulterior motives, as it could be an attempt to shift the blame to China over the foreign aircrafts that flew over the Philippines, or it could be aimed at luring out a Chinese response to learn more about China's key military hardware, a Chinese military expert on air force strategy who requested to remain anonymous told the Global Times.

If the photo in the report turns out to be real and was indeed taken in the Philippines, then the aircraft is more likely the US' RQ-180, the expert said, noting that this could happen more often in the future as the US is actively preparing for a potential war in the region.

It is the US who has been enhancing its military deployment in the South China Sea but is now trying to make false charges against China, observers said.

If the mysterious aircraft really flew over the Philippines they should know what it was but the country has not made an announcement yet, the expert said, noting that the Philippine military is obviously not in possession of such a type of advanced aircraft. The Philippines was either unaware of the aircraft's nature or it could not do anything about it since the US often carries out military activities beyond security agreements between the two countries, according to the expert.

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