Chinese UAV & UCAV development


dankris

Junior Member
Registered Member
CH-7 brochure. High-altitude, high-speed, high-endurance stealth surveillance and strike UCAV. Designed for high-intensity conflict and penetrating enemy air defenses to strike at high value targets. Internal weapon carriage capable of launching air-to-air, anti-radiation, and air-to-ground missiles.

Length: 10m
Wingspan: 22m
Max Takeoff Weight: 13000kg
Cruising altitude: 10-13km
Cruising speed: mach 0.5 to 0.6
Top speed: mach 0.75

13 ton MTOW? Sounds like a JF-17 weight class drone to me. Any hint about it's projected payload in stealth form?
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Why not use GJ-11 as the platform for most of these roles? GJ-11 has been in active service already and presumably now a much more mature design from the decade or so between first photos with the R-33 until the parade last year. Does CH-7 come from the same organisation as GJ-11? They're both AVIC owned anyway right?
 

free_6ix9ine

Junior Member
Registered Member
1) Does the GJ-11 use the RD-33? The prototype sure look it did. Will this be replaced with a new engine like the WS-19?

2) Why are all UCAVs either for recon or strike missions? Why hasnt any country come up with an UCAV purely for air to air combat?
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
2) Why are all UCAVs either for recon or strike missions? Why hasnt any country come up with an UCAV purely for air to air combat?

That is probably what the Dark Sword is supposed to be. A2A combat is a lot harder a problem to tackle than ground strike or ISR.
 

free_6ix9ine

Junior Member
Registered Member
That is probably what the Dark Sword is supposed to be. A2A combat is a lot harder a problem to tackle than ground strike or ISR.
Some thoughts on this. I think UAVs can have major advantage in A2A especially when it comes to pilot visibility, payload and maneuverability.

1) Gimbal cameras with 360 view can allow ground controllers to have unobstructed view. Coupled with a VR goggle setup allows the pilot to control the camera using their head.

2) No onboard pilot means no ejection seat, no cockpit, no glass dome, no life support systems ie oxygen supply, smaller fuel tank. lighter aircraft can carry more ordinance hence better firepower. Due to the lighter weight acceleration will also improve.

Also no pilot means that the ucav can out maneuver manned aircraft because of higher g tolerance.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
1) Does the GJ-11 use the RD-33? The prototype sure look it did. Will this be replaced with a new engine like the WS-19?

2) Why are all UCAVs either for recon or strike missions? Why hasnt any country come up with an UCAV purely for air to air combat?
Don't forget Russia also has "Hunter" which is going to be multirole and A2A proficient. However Hunter UCAV looks similar in layout to Lijian/ GJ-11 and all the American experimental flying wing UCAVs, except much larger with a lot more thrust and kinematic performance. Actually GJ-11 is pretty big as well but Anjian looks almost heavy fighter sized and the mockups seem to indicate a long coupled canard.

The main reason A2A UCAVs are not prolific now is because they suck against fighters still. The network capabilities are more jammable because there are more ways to disrupt control. Iran was capable of remotely controlling at least one US drone in the past if that is to be believed. In any case, it's definitely more possible to attack the network successfully and present more problems compared to a manned fighter. Situational awareness also wouldn't be quite as good. This has only recently changed like surrounding cameras helping pilots as one example. Signals to and from drones are also slightly delayed and that fraction of a second or more (depending how far away the drone is and the signal processing ability e.g. diff between 3G and 5G) is a huge difference even in BVR fights where you need to react to change instantly. It's all just going to devalue the effectiveness of the platform but things are slowly changing. Communications tech is allowing the delay to approach its physical limit (light speed) and narrow AI can assist in decision making and movement. Maybe all the pilot will be required to do is permit, select, and execute AI suggestions.

This is why air superiority UCAVs have not quite entered service yet but certainly will be soon. It coincides with improvements in telecommunication technologies like 5G as an example of a commercial element. Also other factors like software and the improving capability of electronics, sensor fusion, and other peripheral equipment. Once all the ingredients are properly combined and mature, UCAVs are going to dominate manned fighters in A2A... and only then.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
Don't forget Russia also has "Hunter" which is going to be multirole and A2A proficient.
So they say. We can shift the Ohotnik discussion over to the Russian threads.

Another reason why Dark Sword might be taking a while is if its a remotely piloted vehicle, as proposed here with cameras everywhere, then the bandwidth requirements - and potential for jamming - are nontrivial. it would need to be relatively autonomous and no one is quite ready for that.
 

free_6ix9ine

Junior Member
Registered Member
So they say. We can shift the Ohotnik discussion over to the Russian threads.

Another reason why Dark Sword might be taking a while is if its a remotely piloted vehicle, as proposed here with cameras everywhere, then the bandwidth requirements - and potential for jamming - are nontrivial. it would need to be relatively autonomous and no one is quite ready for that.
A 90% autnonmous drone could be an interesting approach for the dark sword.

Humans can preset the mission and direct the drone to specific areas or act as escort for high value assets such as tankers or awac. Drone flies along specified route or follows another aircraft. Drone automatically identifies aircraft using radar and determine friend or foe at BVR. Drone can then ask humans for permission to engage foe OR it can engage automatically using radar guided missiles without needing to ask permission, depending on purpose of mission.

Within visual range dog fights can be more challenging because reaction time is shorter. But current technology can also enable autonomous wvr combat. Image recognition Cameras and infrared sensors can be used to help drone track enemy. Machine learning can be used for decision making in dog fights. ML models can be trained in simulated dog fights to outmaneuver human pilots.

A mostly autonomous drone can overcome some of the issues with jamming and bandwith.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Why not use GJ-11 as the platform for most of these roles? GJ-11 has been in active service already and presumably now a much more mature design ...

Since when is the GJ-11 in service? Where sre they?
 

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