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China plans to unveil drones, moon rocket at air show

A military drone whose manufacturer says it can cruise for 20 hours at 15,000 meters (50,000 feet) is among Chinese warplanes, missiles and other weapons technology shown in public for the first time at the country’s biggest air show

ZHUHAI, China (AP) - A military drone whose manufacturer says it can cruise for 20 hours at 15,000 meters (50,000 feet) was among Chinese warplanes, missiles and other weapons technology shown in public for the first time Tuesday at the opening of the country's biggest air show.

The Chinese space program planned to unveil a rocket for crewed space flight capable of carrying a 25-ton payload to lunar orbit at the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, an official newspaper said. The event, which runs through Sunday, was postponed from late 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling Communist Party is pouring billions of dollars into developing fighter jets, stealth technology, drones and other hardware for its military wing, the People's Liberation Army, as it presses claims to disputed seas and other territory.

Powered by two turbofan engines, the CH-6 drone can carry early warning radar, air-to-ground missiles and other weapons, according to its manufacturer, the China Academy of Aerospace Science, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

The newspaper Global Times, published by the ruling party, said the CH-6 is aimed at “high-end arms and dual-use markets” but gave no indication to which governments the company might try to sell it.

The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology planned to unveil a “next-generation manned carrier rocket and a heavy-lift launch vehicle," the Global Times said. It said the 2,000-ton, three-stage rocket would “support China's manned lunar probes.”

Also at the air show, the PLA's air force planned to display a J-16D electronic warfare airplane for the first time, according to the official China News Service.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. displayed an array of new missiles for the first time.

The China Academy of Aerospace Science also planned to show a mini-attack drone, the CH-817. It said the 800-gram (28-ounce) drone can be used by soldiers or released from a bigger drone.

Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Invited guests and military officers walk past the J-16D on display during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. The PLA's air force displayed the J-16D electronic warfare airplane for the first time, according to the official China News Service. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A member of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A pair of J-20 stealth fighter jets of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Visitors walk past a Chinese made CH-4 drone during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021 on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
An AG600 drops a payload of water during a performance for the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A man carrying an umbrella with the United States flag colors as he walks past the CH-6 drone during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021 onTuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. A state-owned Chinese aerospace company unveiled the military drone it says can stay aloft for up to 20 hours at altitudes as high as 15,000 meters (50,000 feet) at the opening Monday of the country's biggest air show.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Foreign military officers and other visitors walk past the J-10C fighter jet from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force on display during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A member of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performs during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Visitors watch an airshow during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Visitors watch an airshow during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Members of the "August 1st" Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform near the J-10C on display during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)