Chinese UAV & UCAV development


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Sharp Sword looks huge in comparison

Because the people are known to stand right next to it. While in case of the new aircraft, the photo seems to be taken by a telephoto lens or the original photo was highly cropped, FOV is highly compressed, so the drone looks much smaller than the person in the foreground.

I don't mean to say whether this new drone is big or small, only that we can't tell from that photo.
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Here is Henrik K take on Star Shadow
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Star Shadow: Another Chinese flying drone with flying wing
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After the first successful flight of its AT-200 , the largest cargo drone in the world with a carrying capacity of 1,500 kg, the Chinese UAS manufacturer Star UAS (朗 星 无人机 系统 有限公司) has once again Talking about him at the Singapore Airshow 2018, currently at the Changi Exhibition Center, his new military drone project called " Star Shadow ".

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The model of the Star Shadow drone

According to information provided by the Chinese manufacturer based in Chengdu, Star Shadow is a stealthy ground attack drone that is 23.95 meters long, 1.84 meters high and with a 15 meter long wing. The designers opted for a flying wing configuration, with a diamond fuselage, a long-span wing and double dorsal air intakes.

The 4,000 kg maximum take-off drone is equipped with a ventral armament bay 2.5 meters long, 0.76 meters wide and 0.7 meters high, capable of carrying up to 400 kg. of ammunition.

Its two TWS-800 turbofan engines are designed by Chengdu Zhong Ke Aero-engine, a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but no clarification has been given other than that it is suitable for a flight "high altitude", according to the interview conducted by our colleague Air Recognition. It is thought, however, that the figure 800 of its reference could correspond to a thrust of 800 kg on the ground, which gives a total thrust of 1,600 kg and gives a ratio T / W of the order of 0.4 which is consistent for a drone of this category.

With such an engine, the speed of Star Shadow can reach 698 km / h for an endurance of 10 to 12 hours in flight.

Star UAS did not give further details regarding the performance of its drone as well as the other payloads, but indicates that the radar's equivalent surface area of the craft will be 0.1 m². Compared to a new fighter jet with a frontal SER of 1 m², this level of observability makes it possible to reduce the enemy detection distance by half, so the reaction time at the same time, and will provide a tactical advantage not negligible for a platform dedicated to the removal of ground targets.

CAN News, the press organ of China's largest aeronautic manufacturer AVIC, called the Star Shadow project the fruit of civil-military collaboration and supportive policies . Star UAS is expected to complete the development of its new military drone this year and is aiming for the first flight by 2019.

It should be noted that the Star Shadow is at least the 5th flying-wing Chinese drone project known to date, after the Sharp Sword of the Shenyang 601 Institute (AVIC), Wing Loong Xof the 611 Chengdu Institute ( AVIC), China CASC Aerospace Group CH-805 and an ongoing project at NWPU University.

This shows, on the one hand, the great interest shown by the major Chinese institutions in this kind of vector of the future, which has many advantages and not only in terms of stealth, and on the other hand the strong potential of this market, which few players have yet positioned.

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The Sharp Sword drone of the Shenyang Institute 601 (AVIC)

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A flying wing drone with interchangeable wings from the 611 Chengdu Institute (AVIC)

We will also note the rise of Chinese manufacturers with a strong academic and academic "background" in the field of drones, while historically the skills and the market are jealously shared by the players in the aeronautics sector of one , and those of the aerospace sector on the other.

And there are plenty of examples - among others, the case of Xi'an ASN Technology Group, which is neither more nor less a subsidiary of NWPU University and provides many tactical drones to the Chinese army every year. , or
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which appears to be the showcase for
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drones, as well as Beihang Zhang Ying (北航 长 鹰 航空 科技) markets
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As for Star UAS,
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counts among its main shareholders:

  • Institute of Engineering Thermophysics (IET), a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • The company Xianyang Pianzhuan, which holds 7% of the rhenium mines in China, a chemical element to achieve the high performance alloy for the engine stroke vanes
  • Chinese logistics giant SF Express, second largest Chinese distributor after China Post
  • The engine manufacturer Chengdu Zhong Ke Aero-engine, also a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Other Chinese state and local government investment funds
The Star Shadow would thus be one more example of the projects launched locally by the actors coming from the university world, who ambition to take its parts of the cake in a market in strong growth, in China as elsewhere.

To be continued.

Henri K.


Junior Member
Registered Member
Sounds like these Western drone-makers are getting more and more desperate by the day. Their paranoia will only continue increasing in the near term ... while the Chinese get more and more of their buyers.
U.S., Israeli drone makers keep wary eye on rising Chinese

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Cheaper Chinese military drones are chipping away at U.S. and Israeli domination of the industry, fuelling a new race as companies predict a rise in demand especially in regions such as Asia.

Chinese cut-rate versions of American armed drones like the MQ-9 Reaper have begun showing up in smaller African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, signaling the country’s ambitions to take market share from incumbents such as General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries.

At the Singapore Airshow
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, state contractor China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) showed off two versions of its Wing Loong reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial system (UAS). It was the drone's first public appearance in Southeast Asia, according to trade media, and the booth drew military personnel from countries such as Myanmar and Malaysia.

These Chinese drones cost about $5 million versus up to $100 million for a U.S.-made system, making them especially attractive to less affluent militaries, said Ben Moores, a senior analyst for defense and aviation at Jane’s by IHS Markit.

“The factors are moving in China’s favor on a daily basis,” he said, adding that the Chinese option was also attractive to countries with less than cordial relations with the United States and Israel.

For instance, he said: “Global customers are very put off by (U.S. President Donald) Trump. Even though he is removing restrictions, any customer is going to think twice about buying American equipment because if you buy it and he decides he doesn’t like you for any reason, he cuts off your spares and you can’t run your platform.”

CATIC, a unit of Chinese state giant Aviation Industry Corporation of China, declined multiple requests for interviews at the airshow held this week.

In February last year, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said that the country’s domestically developed military drones had won their largest ever overseas order from an undisclosed buyer, boosting the Chinese arms industry’s efforts to increase export volumes.

But Moores cautioned there was often a disconnect between what China says it has sold, and what has actually changed hands.

We’ve not seen any developed leading military get anywhere near to buying Chinese UAVs,” he said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles.


To be sure, analysts say that China has not yet taken away any business from U.S. and Israeli drone manufacturers and has so far just sold to customers who are unable to afford American and Israeli products.

Western manufacturers at the airshow acknowledged the growing presence of their Chinese rival. But they said that customers would not overlook their many years of experience for a cheaper and less reliable alternative.

Jane’s by IHS Markit predicts that countries such as Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and the Philippines could be in the market for Chinese drones, with Malaysia potentially seeking 24 units and Indonesia looking at 20.

If you look at the Wing Loong, it looks just like our airplane, I don’t know why they did it that way but they have cheap labor, they can just copy things,” said Joseph Song, vice president for international strategic development at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, maker of the MQ-9 Reaper.

“At the end of the day anybody can make an airplane. What’s important is what do you do with that platform?,” he said. “We’ve flown 5 million hours on this airplane (the MQ-9). That’s more than all the UAVs combined in the world.”

Israel’s Aeronautics said it had a 40-year track record with 70 clients across 55 countries, which meant its drones had, unlike the Chinese, been tested through many development cycles and been proven in combat.

“You cannot shortcut 40 years to five years,” said Dany Eshchar, Aeronautic’s deputy chief executive for marketing and sales.

I believe that the customer appreciates good product and is willing to pay a little more. When you buy Chinese for now, you pay less, you get less. Less by reliability, less by safety,” he said.

Still, these manufacturers said they are not sitting back, citing how quickly their Chinese competitors have been able to adapt and how the country has already made great strides in the civil drone sector.

The United States government, which has come under heavy pressure from American manufacturers, is working, for instance, on relaxing domestic regulations on drone sales to select allies.

“We’re competing on technology and price and sometimes we win, sometimes we lose,” said Eli Alfassi, executive VP of marketing at Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel’s largest defense contractor.

“But are not sitting quiet for even one second. We’re always thinking about the next technology and the next generation... to see how we can improve the system.”
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Sounds like these Western drone-makers are getting more and more desperate by the day. Their paranoia will only continue increasing in the near term ... while the Chinese get more and more of their buyers.
When you hear your rivals talking smack about you to third parties, that's how you know you've got 'em on the ropes and they're scared.

Is there any data that Chinese drones are less reliable/safe than their US/Israeli counterparts? There are so many Chinese models and improvements coming out every year, I can't even keep track of them performance-wise against their Western rivals but I know that if the Chinese variant is $5 million and the US $100 million (How is there a 20 fold difference now? Didn't the Chinese Predator rival cost $1 mill vs $4 mill for the Predator?), I'd rather buy 20 Chinese drones and send them in multiples on missions than buy that 1 US drone hoping nothing happens to it. Their reliability would have to be insanely bad for a buyer to not come out on top with this strategy.

Joseph SONG LOL. When he was talking I bet people listening to him had to think about who "we" and "they" referred to LOL Seriously, I hope he's Korean; it pains me to see Chinese people confused like that.


I don't see that much difference in performance between predator and Wingloong II except the ceiling height and bigger engine and payload. Here is the latest from Oedo
CASIC's new-type stealth long-haul unmanned aircraft performed the first flight last December. More than 80% of new technology is adopted, and the main specifications are world advanced.