Earlier this week, the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) released images of the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and a Chinese Type 054A missile frigate taken by a surveillance aircraft.
An industry source familiar with China's UAV sector says it is "common knowledge" in the industry that China obtained 18 of the Austrian-built UAVs two years ago.
"This is just a Schiebel UAV helicopter," he says, referring to the images. "China purchased 18 of these two years ago. It is the only UAV helicopter this size that is capable of taking off and landing aboard a ship."