China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) unveiled the jet-powered WJ-700 high-altitude, high-speed UCAV.
A UCAV is an Unmanned Combat Aircraft Vehicle also known as a combat drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle that usually carries aircraft ordnance such as missiles and is used for drone strikes.
Aircraft of this type have no on-board human pilot and are usually under real-time human control with different types of automation.
According to experts, the design of this UCAV strongly resembles the MQ-9 Reaper and CH-5 UCAV, with a jet replacing the rear-mounted propeller. Based on literature shown at the Zhuhai Air show, the WJ-700 has a maximum take-off weight of 3.5 tonnes, and endurance of 20 hours.
CASIC describes the WJ-700 as designed for long-range anti-ship missions, anti-radiation missions, as well as electronic warfare and jamming.
The aircraft is not ready for use yet and is still under development. However, a corporate video telecast at the air show said its first flight is planned for 2019 and it is expected to be produced by 2022. This UCAV can be the first step in paving the way for China’s H-20 bomber project.
Another UAV concept is the JY-300 unmanned early warning UAV from the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC)’s 38th Research Institute. This concept was unveiled in a radar exhibition in June. The JY-300 features miniaturized phased-array radar strips installed on the two sides of the fuselage and the leading edge of the wings. Unlike most conventional UAVs with a radar payload, the integrated and conformal design of the JY-300 reduces drag and thus retains most of the UAV’s inherent flight performances.
The Zhuhai air show held in early November this year, showcases some intriguing looking weapon designs and offered a peek into China’s burgeoning aerospace sector.
China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Air show China or Zhuhai Air show, is the largest air show in mainland China. It has been held in even years in Zhuhai, Guangdong since 1996 and is the only international aerospace trade show in China that is endorsed by the Chinese central government. It features the display of real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying display. Since 1996, the show has been successfully held in Zhuhai in every even-number year for 11 sessions. It is a gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase the latest technology and products in the fast-growing Chinese market.