The Washington Post has cited a leaked US military assessment that the Chinese military may soon deploy a high-altitude spy drone that travels at least three times the speed of sound.

Iran Press/Iran News: The newspaper cited a secret document from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The document, which Reuters could not confirm or verify independently, features satellite imagery dated Aug 9 that shows two WZ-8 rocket-propelled reconnaissance drones at an air base in eastern China, about 350 miles (560km) inland from Shanghai, according to the newspaper.

The US assessment said China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) had "almost certainly" established its first unmanned aerial vehicle unit at the base, which falls under the Eastern Theater Command, the branch of the Chinese military responsible for enforcing Chinese sovereignty claims over Taiwan, the newspaper reported.

The US Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Chinese government could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Washington Post said it obtained the assessment of the program from a trove of images of classified files posted on the Discord messaging app, allegedly by a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, who was arrested last week.


Read More:

US eavesdropping on key allies, Leaked Pentagon documents says