Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Unmanned Vehicles

Chinese-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) / Drones

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China confirms CH-4 UCAV in PLA service at 'Peace Mission 2014' drill [IHS Jane's 360] - 1 September 2014

The CH-4, seen here in Abu Dhabi in 2013, is in PLA service, according to reports in state media. (IHS/Patrick Allen)

--- Quote ---Feng Aiwang, commander of the exercise's PLAAF battlegroup, said the CH-4 hit every target in several missile firings. The CH-4 (Cai Hong 4 or Rainbow 4), which has been characterised as China's answer to the United States' General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, operated alongside Z-10 and Z-19 attack helicopters, which also made their 'Peace Mission' debuts.
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Tianjin expo reveals Chinese UAV innovations, aspirations [IHS Jane's 360] - 11 September 2014

A view of another inflatable UAV seen at the Tianjin exhibition, showing externally mounted servos linked to control flaps. Source: Via Top81 website

A new inflatable unmanned aerial vehicle seen at a unmanned technology exhibition held in Tianjin, China, at the end of August 2014. (Via Top81 website)

--- Quote ---Chief designer Zhang Bing Yan introduced the "software aircraft", which he filed patents for in 2011. In comments reported by local media he made it clear that he required greater funding to better develop the concept.

The inflatable UAVs at Tianjin were designated SF-1, SF-2 and SF-3 with wingspans of 2.5 m, 3 m and 4.3 m respectively. Zhang explained they have a useful load of 25 kg, a speed of about 20 km/h, range of about 100 km and a maximum altitude of 4,000 m. The UAVs can be filled with normal air or helium or hydrogen to achieve greater buoyancy.

Apparently constructed of thin polyvinal chloride (PVC) such as used on a common air mattress, the UAVs also use air inflation valves from an air mattress and were seen at the show being filled with a simple electric air-pump. Payloads apparently are carried near the centre-of-gravity, while externally-mounted servos operate control flaps. The UAVs at the show used electric motors and Zhang's craft employs automatic programme/computer-control to fly missions.
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Images emerge of new Chinese twin-fuselage HALE UAV concept | IHS Jane's 360 - 28 May 2015

--- Quote ---Reportedly produced by the 601 Institute of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), the large twin-fuselage UAV concept, called 'Project 973' or 'Shen Diao' ('Divine Eagle'), has been the subject of speculative conceptual drawings since 2012.

These drawings showed a leading-edge mounted canard-wing configuration, but indicated platform was to perform as a high-altitude near space vehicle conducting surveillance, cuing, and communication missions.
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An early image - apparently with a digital filter applied - of what may be a new large HALE UAV from the SAC appeared on a Chinese website on 27 May. Source: Via CJDBY website

A graphic from a Chinese publication showing the employment concept for a large UAV similar to the Shenyang 'Divine Eagle' concept. (Via Top81 website)


Army Recognition |  24 November 2015
China unveils its new home-made CH-5 combat and reconnaissance Drone at industry exhibition

--- Quote ---Designers said CH-5 is made of composite materials and has a wingspan of 20 meters. With a size twice as big as its previously developed counterparts, the drone can stay in the air for as long as about 40 hours and operate at an altitude of up to 10 km.

Compared with other military drones that usually have a maximum take-off weight of less than 1,500 kg, the CH-5 is much more powerful-it is able to fly with a weight of 3,000 kg and carry 900 kg of equipment and weapons, according to engineers at China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.
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The CH-5 combat drone makes its maiden flight at an airport in northwestern China on Aug 26.(Photo/China Daily)


Armed AVIC Harrier Hawk breaks cover | IHS Jane's 360 - 13 July 2016

--- Quote ---The aircraft features a tricycle undercarriage and is powered by a turboprop engine and three-bladed propeller. AVIC representatives were unable to reveal much about the aircraft, however, they did disclose that the system first flew in 2015, and has an endurance of 16 hours. The ground control station is housed in two truck containers.

At present, the UAV is operating in an unarmed version in China for use by military and commercial operators, with the platform featuring an electro-optical (EO) turret at the rear of the aircraft. The armed version of the UAV has four underwing hardpoints and a centreline fuselage hardpoint. The EO turret is a modular feature, with foreign systems potentially being integrated into the platform by operators.
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AVIC's Harrier Hawk in its armed configuration, showing hardpoints and electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) turret. Source: IHS/Charles Forrester


Heavily armed CASC CH-5 UAV makes public debut | IHS Jane's 360 - 07 November 2016

--- Quote ---China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) used Airshow China 2016, held in Zhuhai from 1-6 November, to show a prototype of its Cai Hong 5 (Rainbow 5, or CH-5) strike-capable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the public for the first time since its maiden flight in August 2015.
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CASC showcased the export variant CH-4 armed reconnaissance UAV at the 2014 iteration of Airshow China. The air vehicle is to complement its latest CH-5 in a combined operating environment. (IHS/Kelvin Wong)

CASC's CH-5 strike-capable UAV made its inaugural public appearance at Airshow China 2016. The existence of the company's latest and most capable air vehicle was first revealed by Chinese broadcaster CCTV in an August 2015 news clip. (IHS/Kelvin Wong)

CASC showcased its latest CH-5 with four AR-1 and four AR-2 guided anti-armour weapons as underwing stores on each wing at Airshow China 2016, giving it an impressive 16-missile arsenal. Source: IHS/Kelvin Wong

China's homemade Wing-Loong II MALE UAS takes to the sky | air recognition - 28 February 2017

--- Quote ---China's home-developed Wing-Loong II, the new reconnaissance and strike multi-role endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), successfully completed its maiden flight Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. With a more than 20 meter wingspan, the yellow Wing-Loong II No.01 made its appearance on the runway of a highland airfield in western China at noon Monday, before conducting a 31-minute flight.

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The Wing-Loong UAS series were developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Li said it showed that China had the capability to deliver new generation reconnaissance and strike UAS products to foreign military customers.
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CAIG Wing-Loong II was shown for the first time at Zhuhai Air Show 2016

China defense industry will deliver 300 Wing Loong II / Pterodactyl II UAVs to Saudi Arabia. | army recognition - 20 March 2017

--- Quote ---In February 2017, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) from China has successfully performed flight tests with the Wing Loong II, an improved variant of the Wing-Loong which was exhibited for the first time to the public during the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition held in Zhuhai in 2010.

The Wing Loong II is an upgraded version of the Wing Loong that enters in service with the Chinese Air Force in 2008. This UAV was also exported to many countries all over the world including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

As the Wing Loong I, he Wing Loong II is also an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) in the category of MALE (Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance) which has length of 11 meters, a wingspan of 20.5 meters, and a height of 4.1 meters. It has a payload of 400 kg, which can include armament as as air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided missiles, bombs and air-to-air missiles.
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The new Chinese-made Wing Loong II UAV at Zhuhai AirShow China 2016


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