Tuesday, October 26, 2021

China to unveil bizarre unmanned aircraft at Zhuhai Airshow

China will for the first time unveil its new unmanned aerial vehicle of the High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) type at the Zhuhai Airshow 2021.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) will publicly unveil the WZ-7 (BZK-007) high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) remotely piloted vehicle with a bizarre design.

The new joined-wing drone, also known as Guizhou Soar Dragon, was developed for long-endurance missions at high altitudes, the aircraft features an unusual tandem, joined wing platform.

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According to open sources, the heavy Soar Dragon drone is built of a large number of composite materials. The aircraft’s radar cross-sectional area is not large, presumably less than the typical fighter target, plus the use of composites.

Large by the standards of UAVs, the Soar Dragon’s joined wing allows for a more rigid, less flexible wing than other configurations, with benefits said to include an increased lift-to-drag ratio and less complex flight controls than a HALE UAV with a conventional wing would requiret equipment to complete the command to send the missile mission.

The operational WZ-7 is likely to be used for maritime surveillance of foreign bases and warships, as part of the anti-access/area denial kill chain. Its long flight time and large sensor payload, in particular, could allow it to follow aircraft carriers, while vacuuming up a wealth of data, for extended periods of time.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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