China's high-tech military might soars at air show

China's high end military technology was on display at its largest air show this week, including models that were once secret.

The event showcases the country's growing ambitions in defense, space exploration, and for self-sufficiency in commercial aircraft.

With travel restrictions in force, this year's Airshow China was a largely domestic affair, but foreign observers kept a close eye on developments from afar.

Defense experts were particularly interested in these high-altitude long-endurance reconnaissance drones.

Kelvin Wong, a defense editor at Janes, told Reuters that similar models been spotted operating out of airbases close to the Sino-Indian border, the North Korean border and the South China Sea.

China has been working hard to improve the performance of its homegrown engines, which have lagged Western technology.

Its J-20 fighter jets, made with Chinese engines rather than Russian ones, went on display for the first time at the show.

China also revealed it expected to launch its next generation of heavy-duty rockets, powerful enough to send a crewed spacecraft to the moon, in 2028, which is two years earlier than previously expected.

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