A top-of-the-line Chinese Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), displayed at Russia’s MAKS airshow, reportedly had its landing gear broken as it sat on display. Now, locals suspect foul play by a throng of kids who were allowed to play on it.
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China brought its newest Wing Loong II strike drone to this year’s MAKS airshow, apparently eager to show off its best aircraft tech.
The modern-looking UAV – designed for reconnaissance missions and targeted strikes – caught the eye of Russian aviation geeks, and onlookers, but something went wrong as the air exhibition neared the end.
Photographs which surfaced online show the Wing Loong drone essentially lying on the ground, with a broken landing gear. As the day progressed, it emerged that all three undercarriages were taken out.
The mystery deepened when it emerged that the drone was actually a static exhibit. There was no external impact to the aircraft, local media reported. In addition, it didn’t perform demonstration flights, as dozens of other aircraft did, from time-tested Russian fighter jets to next-generation passenger planes.
Eagle-eyed internet pundits suggested that it was too risky for the Chinese manufacturer to put the real drone on display. The device that broke down should have been “a plastic mock-up,” they suggested, while others called it “a stress test.”
“Made in China,” some said, referring to a stereotype that describes Chinese goods as cheap, low-quality copycats of Western products.
China is yet to say whether this was a full-size model or the actual aircraft, in order to finally solve the Wing Loong puzzle.
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