China Shows Armed UAV Designs In Zhuhai Air Show

Between 40 and 50 unmanned air vehicle models were on display atAirshow China in Zhuhai in mid-November, including fixed- androtary-wing designs. While most of the systems appear to be aimed atintelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications, severalwere depicted carrying missiles.

Among the more notable armed mock-ups were thoseon view at the stands of AVIC and the China Aerospace and ScienceCorporation (COSIC). However, with officials from both organisationsunavailable to comment on the projects, their stage of development - ordeployment - is uncertain.

AVIC's Pterodactyl appears to be all butidentical to the General Atomics Predator A, complete with a V tail, alarge nose with an under-slung sensor dome and two missiles similar toLockheed Martin's AGM-114 Hellfire. AVIC says the design has "medium tolong endurance," but fails to provide specifics.


Perhaps the most visually striking armed UAV on show was COSIC'sCH-3, which has its wings mounted toward the rear of its fuselage andlarge forward canards with control surfaces.

Data displayed by the company claims a maximum take-off weight of 640kg(1,410lb), a top speed of 220kt (407km/h) and an endurance of 12h, witha communications radius of 108nm (200km). The CH-3 can also carry twoprecision-guided air-to-surface weapons.

COSIC also exhibited a larger design with what appeared to beanti-ship missiles, with the system potentially similar to the NorthropGrumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.


A diagram showed the WJ-600 scanning a large area of ocean andproviding a data nexus for weapons platforms including aircraft, ships,submarines and shore-based missile batteries. The UAV was also depicteddestroying a helicopter and a ground target with its missiles.

ASN Technology displayed a model of its ASN-229A armed UAV, withthis also carrying two Hellfire-type weapons. The design has a bulbousnose, under-fuselage sensor dome and a twin-tail configuration.


The display model featured a skid landing gear, but the type could alsobe launched with a rocket booster and recovered by parachute. ASN saysthe design has a maximum take-off weight of 800kg including a 100kgmission payload, and a mission endurance of 20h.

The company, which claims to produce 90% of China's UAVs, says the model is close to entering service.

"The ASN-229A is still in its testing phase, but we expect it to beready by the end of next year," says an industry source, who adds:"China is investing significant resources in its UAV programmes."

Further evidence of the nation's interest inunmanned systems was widespread, with several designs bearing a closeresemblance to Western and Israeli designs.

These included COSIC's 6.5kg hand-launched CH-802, reminiscent ofAeroVironment's legacy Pointer, and AVIC's Night Eagle, which sharescommon design features with the Australian-developed Aerosonde series.

In the rotorcraft sector, an unmanned development named the V750 wason show. With a rotor diameter of 7.24m (23.7ft), this has a 750kgmaximum take-off weight including an 80kg mission payload and areported service ceiling of 9,840ft.

 Also on display was a V-tailed non-military design dubbed the SL-200.


This was shown with three smoke pipes installed under each wing, withthese intended to generate artificial precipitation. Exhibit materialsays the 180kg design could be flown to an altitude of 19,700ft.

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