Experts puzzled by mysterious UAVs on Chinese frigate

Pictures released earlier this week by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) showing mysterious unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) hovering above and parked on the rear landing deck of a Chinese frigate at sea have left defense analysts scratching their heads.

The pictures, first published by Japanese media on Wednesday, were taken while three People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels — the Type 054A missile frigates Zhoushan and Xuzhou, and the electronic reconnaissance and missile tracking Beijixing — conducted exercises in the West Pacific, about 700km off Japan’s Okinotori.

A Japanese surveillance aircraft spotted the vessels on April 29 as they crossed from the East China Sea into the strait of Osumi, the first such crossing by PLAN vessels in nine years. The ships were again spotted on their return journey on Monday.