Earlier this month, the Chinese unveiled hypersonic weapons and unmanned platforms at a military parade in Beijing on Oct. 1. One piece of military hardware that the People's Liberation Army, or PLA, didn't unveil, was an attack helicopter that resembles a flying saucer.
The Super Great White Shark, as what the Global Times is calling the flying spaceship, measures 25 feet long, 10 feet high, and was exhibited at the 5th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, a major port city in northeastern China, late last week.
The Global Times has indicated the saucer "is highly experimental and may not be put into practical use anytime soon." Still, it added that the saucer could be the country's future helicopter by 2030.
For vertical lift, the saucer uses a coaxial rotor system. Two turbojet engines are embedded on both sides of the aircraft, which give it a tremendous amount of horizontal thrust.
The top speed of the saucer is expected to be around 400 mph. It can climb at a rate of 21.5 feet per second, according to the Global Times, who was citing data from an information sheet at the 5th China Helicopter Exposition.
The saucer has stealth technology built into the exterior skin -- this will allow it to go undetected during combat.
Chinese military observers told the Global Times that the saucer's speed, sleek design, and stealth capabilities give it an edge on the modern battlefield.
The saucer's maiden flight could occur as early as next year at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in South China's Guangdong Province, China Central Television reported last Friday.
"Whether or not this particular helicopter can become practical, such explorations are beneficial to China's technology development for future helicopters," an anonymous military expert told the Global Times.
Another source told the Global Times that the future of China's helicopters should include "high speed, intelligence, stealth, and low noise."
China is racing to modernize its forces, with the latest technology including hypersonic weapons, armed drones, and fifth-generation fighters, amid the threat that the trade war with the US could ultimately end in a shooting conflict somewhere in the South China Sea.