Defense expert Wendell Minnick further explores China’s efforts to expand its UAV reconnaissance and strike capabilitiesm. He looks back at the Zhuhai Air Show in Defense News at the offers from AVIC, CASC, CASIC and ASN.
The China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) displayed a model of the new Pterodactyl I UAV. Similar in configuration to as the U.S.-built Raptor, the model was equipped with an unidentified air-to-ground missile under each wing. The 9nine-meter-long UAV has a wingspan of 13 meters and a fuselage width of 1 meter. Performance capabilities include a range of 4,000 kilometers, an endurance of 20 hours, maximum speed of 280 kilometers per hour and a maximum altitude of 5,000 meters. It was also outfitted with a sensor turret under the nose.
AVIC also displayed a model of the TL-8 training drone capable of simulating second- and third-generation fighter aircraft and cruise missiles. According to an AVIC brochure, the drone can operate at 0.85 Mach with a maximum flight time of 40 minutes.
The company also displayed models of two short-range fixed winged reconnaissance UAVs – Night Eagle and SW-1. Both have an operational flight time of three hours. AVIC also provided information on the new ducted-fan Whirlwind Scout. Capable of vertical takeoff and landing, the Scout has a 20-40 minute operational endurance.
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