China unveils pilotless chopper; to develop faster variants
China on Thursday showcased its latest-concept unmanned helicopter even as the country is developing choppers with the ability to fly at speeds twice the current average.
Beijing: China on Thursday showcased its latest-concept unmanned helicopter even as the country is developing choppers with the ability to fly at speeds twice the current average.
The JY-8, which does not feature a tail rotor, can reach a maximum speed of 400 km per hour.
It is expected to be subjected to trials in 2015, said Zhu Yinchui, an engineer with the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute.
It was exhibited at the second China Helicopter Exposition in the northern city of Tianjin.
The coaxial double-oared JY-8 adopts similar high-speed technologies as the X2, an experimental helicopter developed by US aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"China has mastered the core technologies of unmanned helicopters, and has started serialised production," said Fang Yonghong, who is in charge of the research of unmanned helicopter technologies with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, (AVIC) China`s major aircraft maker. The company has developed unmanned helicopters with take-off weights of up to one tonne.
The range of low-cost and highly mobile helicopters is intended for uses ranging from communication relaying, precise positioning, to aid in emergency rescue operations, border patrol and scientific surveys.
Also, China is developing helicopters with the ability to fly at speeds twice the current average.
Lin Zuoming, AVIC President, said China is striving to make helicopters that can achieve speeds of 500 kms per hour.
AVIC produces a wide range of helicopters, from ultra-light varieties to high-altitude adaptive helicopters.
AVIC says it has cracked core technologies in key areas like rotors, flight control and avionics.
China`s helicopter industry has been on a steady rise over the last decade.
On August 26, the ingenuously developed military attack helicopter WZ-10 launched its first air-to-air missile successfully intercepting low-altitude targets.
The WZ-10, an armed chopper, carried out the launch during a live-fire drill involving PLA troops in the eastern waters off south China`s Guangdong Province.