China recently unveiled its first unmanned combat helicopter, called the AV500W, hoping to woo foreign buyers at an expo in Tianjin with the sophistication of Chinese drone technology.
Manufactured by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), the AV500W officially debuted at the fourth China Helicopter Expo on Thursday, where more than 400 helicopter-makers and supplies from 22 nations and regions around the world also exhibited their latest high-tech flying contraptions. Chinese state media reports that the AV500W was one of the stars of the show, though it, unfortunately, did not actually take off into the sky or demonstrate its capabilities by launching missiles at expo-goers.
With terrorism and insurgents continuing to be a growing threat around the world, the AV500W is being marketed to countries who want to ramp up their counterterrorism efforts with some effective, and affordable equipment. One of the AV500W’s chief designers, Jiang Yu, believes that his machine will be perfect for any Middle Eastern country that faces terrorist threats.
“Several nations have told us that they are interested in this aircraft. This is because there are a very small number of unmanned helicopters in the world that can perform strikes, while demand for such types is not small,” Jiang said.
The 7.2-meter-long aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 450 kilograms, a maximum speed of 170 kilometers per hour and a flight ceiling of 4,000 meters. The combat version can remain in the air for four hours.
It’s also capable of carrying 120 kilograms of weapons and equipment, including, typically, four air-to-ground missiles which use radar homing technology for guidance.
In addition, the AV500W appears to have received a much-needed makeover since it was last seen in public last year.
According to Jiang, the aircraft made its maiden flight test in August and successfully fired off its weapons. He says that all of the helicopter’s remaining tests will be completed before the end of this year and it may be ready for mass production as soon as 2018. Terrorists, beware!
By Máté Mohos
[Images via The Paper]
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat