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Chinese UAV & UCAV development

This is a discussion on Chinese UAV & UCAV development within the Air Force forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; This is a first. First time I've seen something on Strategypage before any place else. Any one got more info ...

  1. #1
    AssassinsMace's Avatar
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    Chinese UAV & UCAV development

    This is a first. First time I've seen something on Strategypage before any place else. Any one got more info or a better angled pic of this UAV?

    Chinese High-Speed UAV
    Last edited by bd popeye; 11-21-2010 at 07:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Interesting. Read the article, their analysis certainly fits the picture.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Nice. Reminds me of a cross between the B-1 and M-55 (A little smoother than the other twin booms China have if you know what I mean.) For high altitude maybe? Its dull nose doesnt suggest supersonic flight.

    I want Asia on my front porch and America as my backyard.
    Disclaimer: By America, I meant the Continent. And yes, I know Asian homes have neither a backyard nor a porch in the American sense.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    This will be our new UAV thread for a while until the thread becomes too long.

    An analysis of the Anjian. Looks like its intended to be a fighter.

    China's Dark Sword unmanned combat air vehicle programme raises questions
    By Peter La Franchi
    Almost a year on from its unveiling at the November 2006 Zhuhai air show and reappearance at this year's Paris air show, the Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute's "Dark Sword" concept for an unmanned combat air vehicle continues to pose questions for Western analysts about its proposed role.

    Initially portrayed by Shenyang as being intended for air-to-air superiority roles, the design reflects an amalgam of concepts that in turn open the way for multiple interpretations of its real purpose. The design is variously seen as reflecting technical lag in Chinese aerospace industry capabilities compared with the West as a chimera intended to help equalise perceptions of Chinese capability or in more recent thinking, as an early harbinger of possible long-range strike platforms.

    The Dark Sword model portrays an elongated delta airframe with highly swept aft-mounted wings. It has four cantilevered tail fins, the larger two of which are mounted at the top of the main delta wing, with the other two mounted beneath. The forward fuselage is dominated by an extremely large belly-mounted intake and two apparently retractable canards.

    No size or powerplant notions have been released for the design. The large intake is consistent with Western concepts for fourth-generation turbofan-powered fighters optimised for use in close combat roles. Its shape also clearly reflects a desire to reduce radar cross section, but its location and size is at odds with the bulk of Western thinking about UCAV signature suppression, which has seen the uniform adoption of above-fuselage intakes. It also contrasts with other notional Chinese UCAV designs that have emerged from the nation's AVIC 1 industrial grouping, with these tending to illustrate air vehicles similar to those now under development by European and US industry.

    The aircraft's rear fuselage poses other questions: unlike the rest of the airframe, the area around where the engine nozzle would be located has simply been left as a vertical surface with a recess indicating the exhaust. This contrasts with the considerable efforts made at streamlining the remainder of the design, as it would generate considerable drag.

    The inclusion of the canard surfaces reiterates the development links between current Chinese manned fighter aircraft. Western UCAV designs in contrast rely on inherent airframe instability and advanced fly-by-wire controls, leading to completely tailless configurations. However, all current Western UCAV designs are optimised for suppression of enemy air defences, rather than air-to-air combat, which is seen as a long-term operational capability, rather than an immediate development priority. In this respect the Dark Sword concept is being pitched against a mission that Western developers do not expect to emerge for at least another two decades.

    If Dark Sword is a future air-to-air combatant, its emphasis on control surfaces is indicative of a type that would be capable of highly dynamic operational performance if developed using current Chinese technologies. However, if manufactured, its debut flight would come at a time when Chinese industry is likely to have parity with current Western avionics, and could therefore offer an air vehicle noticeably cleaner in profile and provide advanced manoeuvrability. That "break" between expected technical capability development and the Dark Sword concept is perhaps the strongest grounds on which to dismiss the model as a chimera.

    It is as an illustration of Chinese thinking about high-speed long-range strike, however, that the model offers the most interesting interpretations. Dark Sword has an uncanny resemblance to a variety of conceptual very high supersonic and hypersonic air vehicle designs which circulated in Western circles in the late 1980s, particularly those powered by ramjets.

    Ramjet propulsion would explain not only the large intake and its positioning, but also the abrupt termination of the aft fuselage, as any airflow cavity caused by the design would be rendered meaningless by the sheer speeds being travelled. It would also explain the multiple control surfaces and in particular the underside fins to assist in manoeuvring in extremely thin atmospheric conditions.

    The canard surfaces would have application in low-speed profiles, but by retracting would significantly reduce drag in the deployment phase of a mission. An aircraft of this type would have extremely long range and be capable of meeting very rapid deployment goals, and conceivably could then support air-to-air operations after reaching its deployment area.

    In that context Dark Sword hints at an operational concept that has little to do with operations in the near vicinity of China, and is instead part of developing ideas for the conduct of extremely long-range deployments followed by highly dynamic operations. That concept is equally technologically challenging, but has a precursor in previously seen Chinese military ideas for being able to engage a future adversary at extreme distances.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...me-raises.html

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Also from flight global.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ce-assets.html

    Micro-turbine powered HFT-40 and HFT-60 UAVS unveiled as surveillance assets
    By Peter La Franchi

    The previously unknown “Beijing Black Buzzard Aviation Technology Limited”, a privately owned Chinese company, has unveiled two micro-turbine powered unmanned air vehicles and a joined tandem wing UAV.

    Exhibited for the first time at the Beijing Aviation Expo 2007, in September, the two micro-turbo powered systems – designated HFT-40A and HFT-60A – show characteristics more aligned with high speed target drones but are being promoted as surveillance assets with the potential to be used in civilian roles. A full size HFT-60A airframe was displayed at the show.

    Company data indicates HFT-60A is capable of flying above 600km p/h, has an operational radius of 150km, and an endurance of greater than 3h. The type has a span of 2.3m, a length of 3.43m and a maximum takeoff weight of 90kg.

    The UAV is said to incorporate a fully autonomous guidance system with this programmed by a single lap top computer modified to act as a portable ground station. The air vehicle uses a rail launcher and parachute landing.

    HFT-40A has a top speed of above 500km p/h, an operational radius of 80km and an endurance of around 3h. The overall type length is 3.23m in length with a span of 2.1m. Maximum take off weight is given as 45kg.

    The company’s exhibition stand indicates at least five different micro-turbines in its current design portfolio. The HFT-60A engine type is given as the VWP-60, with this representative of the mid sized units made by the company.

    The joined wing type, shown only in photographs on the company’s exhibition booth, has close conceptual parallels with the Seattle-based DARA Aviation D-1A type, particularly in the use of the low mounted forward wing and high rear wing, and multiple tails. The forward fuselage profile is also near identical.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    From the big shrimps on Chinese bbs, it seems that this is the direction that they are going for. I'm guessing we might see some pictures coming out soon. One of the guys actually mentionned that a UCAV is already in the testing phase. I guess we will see.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Is this big shrimp usually associated with news from Shenyang? The only UCAV program that's been revealed is the "Dark Sword".

    On one had it's surprising something that advanced is being tested. On the other hand, it's not surprising since they've already revealed the project at Zhuhai some time ago.

    If this news is true, then the manned stealth aircraft projects must be very far along in development also.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger604 View Post
    Is this big shrimp usually associated with news from Shenyang? The only UCAV program that's been revealed is the "Dark Sword".

    On one had it's surprising something that advanced is being tested. On the other hand, it's not surprising since they've already revealed the project at Zhuhai some time ago.

    If this news is true, then the manned stealth aircraft projects must be very far along in development also.
    Do you think they would show a program that is still ongoing? Doesn't sound like PLA policy to me. This is the direction they are going for and emphasizing in, that's all.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    this is a picture of a couple of UAVs attacking tanks. Although I can't actually tell which UAVs they are. If we look at the wingspan of the UAVs compared to the frontal width of tank, then we can judge the wing to be 3 to 4 times, so the wings should be around 12-15 m. Which, if you take a look at the length of every UAV on sinodefence, would be a completely new UAV.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    What are the UAVs attacking the tanks with? It looks more like the UAVs deployed flares.

    Can't really tell without seeing the full video of where that still shot came from. Is the video available somewhere?

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Take note of the direction of the trails of white smoke. Flares don't travel in one direction,in a straght line and in front of a launching aircraft. Possibly some kind of test rounds?

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Quote Originally Posted by tphuang View Post
    this is a picture of a couple of UAVs attacking tanks. Although I can't actually tell which UAVs they are. If we look at the wingspan of the UAVs compared to the frontal width of tank, then we can judge the wing to be 3 to 4 times, so the wings should be around 12-15 m. Which, if you take a look at the length of every UAV on sinodefence, would be a completely new UAV.
    Those are Cessna C162 Skycatcher's built by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation
    http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news..._196672-1.html, not UAV's.
    Last edited by Sczepan; 12-31-2007 at 07:15 AM.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Quote Originally Posted by Sczepan View Post
    Those are Cessna C162 Skycatcher's built by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation
    http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news..._196672-1.html, not UAV's.
    They are UAVs according to the news report. Besides, they just signed the skycatcher agreement, no way the planes could've been built by SAC and join the service so fast.


    Take note of the direction of the trails of white smoke. Flares don't travel in one direction,in a straght line and in front of a launching aircraft. Possibly some kind of test rounds?
    don't concern too much with what they are dropping, they may choose to destroy or not destroy the tank. The important part is the ability to find and then bomb the tanks.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Those don't look like they have very much in the way of RCS features, though.

    I hope that those tanks (or whatever armored vehicles they are) are remotely controlled.

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    Re: New Chinese UAV

    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Those don't look like they have very much in the way of RCS features, though.
    I think RCS reduction would tend to make the UAV more difficult to fly, requiring more complex controls. Traditional small planes like Cessnas are very stable. You can take your hands off the controls and they just level out on their own. And this is without any electronic aid whatsoever.

    I could imagine a good niche for dirt-cheap, simple UAVs that are easy to handle and expendable. They force the enemy to turn on their radars and waste missiles. If they get shot down, you call in more sophisticated air support.

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