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AVIC 601-S

1 Sky Crossbow Tian-NuTiannu
2 Wind Blade Feng-RenFengren
3 Cloud Bow Yun-GongYungong
4 Warrior Eagle Zhan-YingZhanying
5 Sharp Sword Li-JianLijian
6 Dark Sword An-JianAnjian
7 Morphing UAV Bian-ti Wu-ren-ji
AVIC 601-S is a series of Chinese low-observable flying wing UAVs jointly developed by Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute (SYADI) of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Shenyang Aerospace University. The 601-S nomenclature is derived from the names of the developers: SYADI of AVIC is also widely known as the 601st Institute, hence 601, and the letter S is for Shenyang Aerospace University (SAU). A total of seven different models had been identified as of 2013. Strangely, this series was for a time more abundantly documented in English language sources than in Chinese.

Sky Crossbow (Tian-Nu or Tiannu) experimental UAV was the first member of 601-S series to reveal the Chinese effort to gain experience with the flying wing design, with a wingspan of 2.2 meters, and a weight of 18.8 kg. Although a flying wing, Sky Crossbow retained the twin tails to ensure flight control, and hence was named "4 control surfaces, flying wing with twin tail" (Si duo-mian fei-yi jia shuang-chui-wei).

Wind Blade (Feng-Ren or Fengren) experimental UAV was a development of the earlier Sky Crossbow with similar specifications. The primary difference between Wind Blade and Sky Crossbow is that the twin-tail was replaced by winglets. The configuration of Wind Blade is adopted by NUAA Unmanned flying wing, an unrelated Chinese experimental UAV developed by Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics [NUAA] for the purpose of gaining experience in the flying wing design, and thus the two designs look very similar externally.

Cloud Bow (Yun-Gong or Yungong) experimental UAV is a further development of Wind Blade, and by this stage the satisfactory result of flight control system of the flying wing design has been achieved, so the winglets on earlier Wind Blade is eliminated, and hence Cloud Bow is also called 4 control surfaces flying wing (si duo-mian fei-yi).

Warrior Eagle (Zhan-Ying or Zhanying) experimental UAV was based on earlier Cloud Bow and the difference is that Warrior Eagle is a forward swept flying wing design. Many Chinese internet sources claimed that Warrior Eagle would be deployed as a reconnaissance or even an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV). While this might come true in the distant future, the developer claimed at various airshows and UAV exhibitions that the main purpose of this UAV was to gain knowledge of flight control system for a forward swept flying wing design. There might be future applications for reconnaissance and combat missions if the design proved successful.

Sharp Sword (Li-Jian or Lijian) jointly developed by SYADI, SAU and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), is one of the two AVIC 601-S models that progressed further than proof of concept design, evolving into larger size (the other being Dark Sword). The Sharp Sword is jet-powered and has a wingspan of 14 meters. It was not initially clear what missions Sharp Sword might perform, though possibilities included reconnaissance and eventually combat missions. On 21 November 2013, Sharp Sword conducted a 20 minute long maiden flight from HAIG's airfield.

Dark Sword (An-Jian or Anjian) UAV was said to be based on knowledge gained from other 601-S UAVs. The Dark Sword design had less emphasis on stealth in comparison to other 601-S UAVs, but more emphasis was on speed and maneuverability. The developers stated that the primary focus of Dark Sword was to develop it into a hypersonic UAV, to fulfill the requirement for a low-observable, high maneuverability, hypersonic UAV. This might support tests conducted for Chinese air defense and air-to-air weaponry. The The few photographs that appear to show this vehicle airborne appear to be a subscale, probably subsonic, variant that might develop into a target drone. Exiting target drone, the retired Shenyang J-6, can only achieve supersonic speed at level flight. And retired Chengdu J-7 are mainly used to provide spare parts for the J-7 fleet remaining in service after production has ended. Dark Sword is thought to be possible in the distant future to be developed into other applications such as reconnaissance and combat. To improve maneuverability, it adopts canard configuration and twin tails. As with Warrior Eagle, the capability of Dark Sword has been greatly exaggerated by many claims on the Chinese internet.

Shape Varying UAV (Bian-ti Wu-ren-ji) is an experimental UAV of AVIC 601-S series, first revealed in 2008 during the 7th Zhuhai Airshow. It is a proof of concept UAV of flying wing configuration, based on experience gained from other UAVs of the series. The greater wingspan provides better stability at low speed, while at high speed, lesser wingspan would help to reduce drag. Instead of the usual variable-sweep wing configuration, the Shape Varying UAV is designed to explore the potential of a folding wing design. As with other AVIC 601-S UAVs, the inlet of Shape Varying UAV is above the fuselage, shielded from ground-based radar.

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Page last modified: 18-10-2021 19:08:44 ZULU