Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Japanese jets intercept Chinese giant drones

The Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Joint Staff Office has released footage of what it says were interceptions over neutral waters of Chinese new long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles that were flying toward its border over the East China Sea.

In a series of announcements in August, the Joint Staff of Japan’s Defense Ministry announced that its fighter jets had scrambled jets several times to intercept new types of Chinese medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to a recent Joint Staff Office news release, pilots of Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighters visually identified Chinese drones as the TB-001 and BZK-005, although it did not provide further details other than the observed flight paths of the air vehicles.


The TB-001, most recently nicknamed Twin-Tailed Scorpion, is a strike-capable, reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle designed by Sichuan Tengden. It is a twin-engine, double-tail drone. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 2.8 tons, a range of more than 3,700 miles, and provisions to carry two 220-pound bombs or missiles.

This aircraft is characterized by a dual tail fuselage design. This design extends two-tail support sections backward on the wing, each connecting a vertical tail, and the tops of the two vertical tails are combined in the form of a flat tail.

As to the second drone, BZK-005 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone designed by Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Harbin Aircraft Industry (Group) Co., Ltd.

The multirole drone can climb to an altitude of 8,000 meters for a maximum endurance of 40 hours – altitudes and ranges similar to those of the U.S. MQ-1 Predator.

According to open sources, the BZK-005’s primary mission appears to be ISR. The BZK-005 probably has electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar, and signals intelligence sensors and is equipped with satellite communications systems, allowing for real-time data transmission capability.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul is a defense reporter who covers the Korean defense industry and all related issues.



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