Chinese UAV & UCAV development


ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
These two drones don't look like mockups but I doubt they wouldn't clean them up a bit. What was thought as burn marks wouldn't be shown at the parade unless it was an intentional thing to show the targeted observers that these are operational. In any case of course these types of drones have been used if they're comfortable showing it off, it's probably been known by US intelligence for some time.
 

enroger

New Member
Registered Member
I'm beginning to rethink my initial guess that wz-8 is sub-orbital. More and more details seems to indicate it is a rocket powered sustained flight thing, I am very very surprised if that is the case. Maybe there is a sweet spot in altitude/speed regime where this thing has high enough L/D ratio so it can be sustained with low thrust for extended time.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
I wonder how is the wz8 steered if it's going at 40-50 km altitude.

could the gas thrusters around the body be so small that we don't see them on all these images?

and would they be enough to make the plane make a 180 degree turn? (so it can get home)

somehow i don't have a feeling vectored thrust of main nozzles could do the trick. but if I am wrong andwith my notion of physics, do enlighten me. even if it could, nozzles don't seem to have enough leeway for that feature.
 

latenlazy

Brigadier
I wonder how is the wz8 steered if it's going at 40-50 km altitude.

could the gas thrusters around the body be so small that we don't see them on all these images?

and would they be enough to make the plane make a 180 degree turn? (so it can get home)

somehow i don't have a feeling vectored thrust of main nozzles could do the trick. but if I am wrong andwith my notion of physics, do enlighten me. even if it could, nozzles don't seem to have enough leeway for that feature.
Should be steerable with control surfaces no?
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
These two drones don't look like mockups but I doubt they wouldn't clean them up a bit. What was thought as burn marks wouldn't be shown at the parade unless it was an intentional thing to show the targeted observers that these are operational. In any case of course these types of drones have been used if they're comfortable showing it off, it's probably been known by US intelligence for some time.

The drones look real to me. They include their serial numbers, and their paint finish don't appear new. They were clearly meant to send a message.
 
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Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
Should be steerable with control surfaces no?

The drones still appear to have control surfaces so they must still be flying at an altitude where they are still controllable by it. Or they may have small side thrusters for maneuvering but I kind of doubt that. The body appears to have a large lift surface underneath so it may glide home.
 

enroger

New Member
Registered Member
I wonder how is the wz8 steered if it's going at 40-50 km altitude.

could the gas thrusters around the body be so small that we don't see them on all these images?

and would they be enough to make the plane make a 180 degree turn? (so it can get home)

somehow i don't have a feeling vectored thrust of main nozzles could do the trick. but if I am wrong andwith my notion of physics, do enlighten me. even if it could, nozzles don't seem to have enough leeway for that feature.

If the plane has enough lift to sustain leveled flight then control surfaces must still works. This thing turning 180 would be like slightly banking and make a very very wide U-turn...
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
I am going to add that even if the air is rarified, if you are travelling with enough speed, a very high speed, the vehicle will still pass through enough volume of air every second to provide both lift and control authority.

Lets go to another vehicular body here, that was just shown, the DF-17. There is still a bit of lifting body that demonstrates that even at the altitudes it fly, there is enough air that is passing underneath it to exert some lift authority on the body, and the presence of stabilizers, also show there is still enough air pressure as a result of the speed, that fin stabilizers are still valid.

With both bodies, the WZ-8 and the DF-17, they have a light nose, with the center of gravity of the vehicle towards the back. That and with the nose getting the highest pressure, the nose will have a tendency to pitch and lift up, increasing the angle of attack. But as it does, it will also increase drag, so the vehicle will have to pitch down periodically, the slight dive will decrease altitude but pick up and restore speed. The increase speed will increase lift again and the nose will pitch up, increasing altitude but decrease speed. Then you pitch down again, and this cycle repeats itself. The vehicles will not be traveling in a straight line but in a wave like motion.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
So can one deduce, from other similar projects, and the fact control surfaces are there, the altitude at which wz8 likely cruises? If we have the altitude pinned down, we also might have a better idea of the cruise speed as well. My personal guess is above 30 km altitude, but i'd like a more precise figure...
 

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