Chinese UAV & UCAV development


vincent

Senior Member
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.
ever play FPS games with high lag?
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Since when is the GJ-11 in service? Where sre they?
Okay fine this is admittedly an assumption on my part which I should have indicated but let's consider the following:

1. PLA often does not tell the public when and where something is in service until considerably later dates like just about every single piece of major military hardware I can think of; PL-15, J-10, Type 039, Type 094, Type 95 rifles in HK, J-20 and so on. So not seeing them broadcasted by CCTV to be flying around isn't indicative of service status at all.

2. Lijian prototypes have been known publicly in pretty much this final form (except for nozzle set-up) since 2012. Publicly shown to be in flight testing since 2012/13. Given the at least 7 years between publicly disclosed test flights and today, there's enough time to have completed the work and since it is shown in the parade, it is indeed something the PLA is procuring, in contrast to a project like FC-31.

3. Those military parades only show equipment that's either in service or pretty much about to enter service like J-20 was shown in 2018 and reached PLAAF service in following month/ the year after.

4. PLA leaks info that WZ-8 has been flying for "some time" and conducted missions in SCS and around Taiwan. This matches pictures from 2019 where some displayed WZ-8 have considerable burn marks in parts of the airframe with some attempt and cleaning and brushing them up. It was also the first time the WZ-8 is shown publicly and alongside other platforms that have been in service for considerable time and some newer things like DF-17.

5. There's been talk for a long time on Chinese message boards about stealth strike UAVs being operational and they're not referring to the CH-3/4/5s etc. This is obviously a weak claim for sure and should be ignored but it's good to be aware that these claims are out there, even if we should be skeptical of them.

One thing to admit is that GJ-11 shown in the parade is more likely a mock up. But the fact they chose to showcase it says something. It's just too abnormal for them to show something not in service. Keep in mind many parade missiles like AShM and SAMs are mockups too. But YJ-12, YJ-18, and HQ-9/16 missiles have been in service for so many years now.
 
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Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
....
2. Lijian prototypes have been known publicly in pretty much this final form (except for nozzle set-up) since 2012. Publicly shown to be in flight testing since 2012/13. Given the at least 7 years between publicly disclosed test flights and today, there's enough time to have completed the work and since it is shown in the parade, it is indeed something the PLA is procuring, in contrast to a project like FC-31.
...

Which prototypes!?? We know the demonstrator from at best a dozen or so images.


I think GJ-11 likely is in some form of service -- the PLA doesn't show weapon types at national day parades that are not in service in some form.

But GJ-11 probably isn't in wide scale service, but it should have completed development largely.

My point only is - even if in general view I agree - we know no base, we haven't seen them at any UAV or aircraft manufactor nor any test- and operational site. This at least for the WZ-8 was different.
 
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dankris

Junior Member
Registered Member
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.
They can even supplement the gimbal camera with DAS like the one on J-20. The only notable problem I can think of would be jam resistance. No one wants their most advanced drone to be delivered whole and unharmed like how the Iranians got the RQ-170, but in this case with your most advanced sensors and munitions along with it.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Which prototypes!?? We know the demonstrator from at best a dozen or so images.





My point only is - even if in general view I agree - we know no base, we haven't seen them at any UAV or aircraft manufactor nor any test- and operational site. This at least for the WZ-8 was different.
Demonstrator from around a dozen or so images and one or two short clips from 2012/13 era. That's enough to point out that at least one prototype was already flying 7 years ago and shown very publicly. Okay none of that means for certain the Lijian program's resulting UCAV is in service now. Unless you also consider this with the fact that they bothered to display it alongside other in service equipment during a 2019 parade. A parade that has historically only ever displayed in service equipment. If we only saw prototypes flying maybe in 2017 or something like that, it may be a huge stretch to have confidence in its service status now. But it's been publicly admitted that at least one flight test platform has been in the air since 2012/13. Perhaps I shouldn't have said it with so much certainty but given the patterns and facts here, one can make up their own mind about it.

PLA not publicly disclosing the bases and providing videos and photos doesn't tell us anything about service status. That is more the norm than the exception. For WZ-8, soar dragon, or that twin fuselage high altitude UAV, this also seems to be the rule although they are all recognised to be in service.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
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Demonstrator from around a dozen or so images and one or two short clips from 2012/13 era. That's enough to point out that at least one prototype was already flying 7 years ago and shown very publicly. Okay none of that means for certain the Lijian program's resulting UCAV is in service now. Unless you also consider this with the fact that they bothered to display it alongside other in service equipment during a 2019 parade. A parade that has historically only ever displayed in service equipment. If we only saw prototypes flying maybe in 2017 or something like that, it may be a huge stretch to have confidence in its service status now. But it's been publicly admitted that at least one flight test platform has been in the air since 2012/13. Perhaps I shouldn't have said it with so much certainty but given the patterns and facts here, one can make up their own mind about it.
I beg your pardon, but you are over-hyping things!

First you say they are confirmed in service and several prototypes were seen, now you agree taht one single demonstrator was flown and take this plus the time since then as proof they are in service.

IMO there is indeed a great chance of being so, but confirmed it is not.

PLA not publicly disclosing the bases and providing videos and photos doesn't tell us anything about service status. That is more the norm than the exception. For WZ-8, soar dragon, or that twin fuselage high altitude UAV, this also seems to be the rule although they are all recognised to be in service.
Also, you now claim "they are all recognised to be in service" which again is not correct. For the WZ-7 Soaring Dragon" and WZ-8 I would agree since we have proof of several images at several different locations in larger numbers and even serial numbers confirmed.
For the Divine Eagle - or as You say "that twin fuselage high altitude UAV" - this is not the case: We know a few images at best, most of them at the manufator's test site and only one single image at Malan. None was spotted at any potential operational bases.
 

free_6ix9ine

Junior Member
Registered Member
I think GJ-11 likely is in some form of service -- the PLA doesn't show weapon types at national day parades that are not in service in some form.

But GJ-11 probably isn't in wide scale service, but it should have completed development largely.

Define wide scale service? I can't see the plaaf needing a large fleet of an aircraft that is designed for a very specialized mission
I beg your pardon, but you are over-hyping things!

First you say they are confirmed in service and several prototypes were seen, now you agree taht one single demonstrator was flown and take this plus the time since then as proof they are in service.

IMO there is indeed a great chance of being so, but confirmed it is not.



Also, you now claim "they are all recognised to be in service" which again is not correct. For the WZ-7 Soaring Dragon" and WZ-8 I would agree since we have proof of several images at several different locations in larger numbers and even serial numbers confirmed.
For the Divine Eagle - or as You say "that twin fuselage high altitude UAV" - this is not the case: We know a few images at best, most of them at the manufator's test site and only one single image at Malan. None was spotted at any potential operational bases.
On another note I think China has the coolest names for UAVs.... divine eagle sounds fucking awesome.
 

stannislas

Junior Member
Registered Member
GJ-11 may be like “type 99” tank in 1999 parade status, a dozen or two at best. PLA use it to explore the possible tactics and collect data for a2a drones development.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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My point only is - even if in general view I agree - we know no base, we haven't seen them at any UAV or aircraft manufactor nor any test- and operational site. This at least for the WZ-8 was different.
I agree, however the question is really just simplicity itself. There are two possibilities:

1. The presence of GJ-11 at the national day parade suggests it is in some form of service, and the fact that we have next to little to no information or pictures of its development (prototypes or otherwise) in recent years beyond the initial demonstrator's pictures, is deliberate.

2. The presence of GJ-11 at the national day parade is an exception of history and it is not in service in any form, and the GJ-11 is actually no further along development beyond the initial demonstrator's pictures that we had years ago, and no further development occurred beyond that point up to or including it entering some form of service.



Of those two options, I think option 1 is much more likely.
Now, that isn't to say I believe GJ-11 is in any form of widespread service. I think it is more likely that it is in evaluation in some small numbers by the PLA to have received a GJ designation as well as to be technically "in service" for the PLA to show it at the national day parade.

But if you're asking me whether I think the PLA have gone out of their way specifically to "hide" the development of GJ-11 in such a way that we have little to no information or pictures about it over the last few years... Yes I believe that is very likely, if not expected.
 

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