Chinese UAV & UCAV development


by78

Brigadier
An interesting concept. Several drones link up by their wingtips to fly as a single unit. The illustration shows five drones flying abreast, each serving a specialized function. From left to right: power supply drone, recon drone, (network) command drone, recon drone, defender drone. As you can see from the bottom illustration, the linked-up formation is not rigid; it allows a certain amount of flexibility in the wingtip joints.


 

kriss

Junior Member
Registered Member
An interesting concept. Several drones link up by their wingtips to fly as a single unit. The illustration shows five drones flying abreast, each serving a specialized function. From left to right: power supply drone, recon drone, (network) command drone, recon drone, defender drone. As you can see from the bottom illustration, the linked-up formation is not rigid; it allows a certain amount of flexibility in the wingtip joints.


What are they trying to achieve by connect wingtip of multiple drone?
 

plawolf

Brigadier
What are they trying to achieve by connect wingtip of multiple drone?
Just off the top of my head, I can think of multiple advantages.

1) fuel efficiency/increased range

2) allow modular design, whereby a complex system could have component modules in separate drones. This allows you to add functions almost at will and allow you to put up potentially high-end UAV/UCAV capabilities without needing a full length runway and/or catapults. This could be especially useful in naval and small base applications in allowing FFGs and DDGs and small bases without full sized runways to launch (and recover) multiple small drones from the heli deck, that can connect to give you capabilities you would normally only find on a land based MALE UAV.

3) disguised drone swarms. No matter how good your ASEA radar is, connected drones are going to show up as a single radar return. So you may not know you are on the receiving end of a drone swarm attack until they break, by which point it could already be too late to effectively counter them.

4) networked arrays/radar. With these connected drones, you could potentially have them link up and acted as a giant antenna array, far bigger than what any single aircraft could realistically lift by itself. This opens up potentially interesting counter stealth applications as it allows you to use very long frequency radars waves against which stealth planes are not optimised against. As well as possible new roles in terms of communications relays and EINT/EW applications.
 

Xsizor

Senior Member
Registered Member
What are they trying to achieve by connect wingtip of multiple drone?
Increased Span of the wings allows for greater lift for a particular airspeed.

Usually, High altitude aircrafts have huge wingspan. ( U-2 Dragonfly ex.) Range is also extended.


The Albatross is nature's solution for extended range flight.
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THere was a study on a flying "aircraft carrier". However here, the concept was to extend the range of the fighter aircraft by assistance of a bomber.


There is, as evidenced by the video, less need of fuel as the propulsion/thrust is offered by the "carrier".
 
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Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
I think this isn't WS-13. It's too big (from comparing with JF-17).

The best comparison is with American Avenger.
It uses a PW500 series engine that is used on small business jets. It delivers 18 kN.

WJ-700 is smaller than Avenger.

He Yuwei [何玉伟], a designer at the The AECC Sichuan Gas Turbine Research Institute, told reporters that with 1000kg of thrust, the “Jiuzhai” [九寨] matched and in some cases exceeded the performance of equivalent American engines. The engine could be used on high altitude UAVs or in the next generation of YJ-62 ASMs.
The “Jiuzhai” turbofan completed its first flight test in October 2017. It was designed and built by CASIC’s Third Academy [中国航天科工三院].

Jiuzhai 10 kN.
Maybe this is the engine.

I am thinking it is developed---evolved but not the same---from the turbofan used with cruise missiles such as DF-10 or YJ-18.
 

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