WJ-700 MALE/HALE Sky Hawk / Tian Eagle
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) unveiled a full-sized model of its new WJ-700 medium-/high-altitude long-endurance (MALE/HALE) armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai. The development of the WJ-700 UAV is currently at the project stage. The design of this machine was presented to the general public for the first time at Airshow China 2018, held in November 2018 in Zhuhai, in the form of a 1:1 model. Under development by CASIC's UAV Technology Institute and marketed by Hiwing General Aviation Equipment, the commercial arm of CASIC's Third Academy, which specialises in the in research and development (R&D) and production of cruise missiles, the turbojet-powered WJ-600 has a stated maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 3,500 kg and an endurance of up to 20 hours.
The WJ-700 is a "high-speed reconnaissance-shock integrated UAV system that can conduct autonomous take-offs and landings from the wheels." According to the developers of the Chinese Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the device has a maximum take-off weight of 3,500 kg and can perform a wide range of tasks, having a flight time of up to 20 hours.
The UAV-type WJ-700 is conceived with a sharp stealth edge that strikingly resembles the hull of US RQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (and domestic CH-4 UAVs / -5 and Wing Loong I / II), a slender winged wing, and fairly tall butterfly tails with a trapezoidal shape. The raised ridge of the hull of this machine conceals the antenna of the satellite communications system, which helps the information to be transmitted to the real-time terrestrial evaluation station.
Unlike all of the other mentioned UAVs that use a piston or turboprop engine, the WJ-700 UAV is fitted with a turbojet engine. This engine uses a kidney-shaped air trap, located above the back of the hull, and a circular nozzle that forms the end of the hull. The UAV take-off and landing gear type WJ-700 is a retractable three-point bow-type chassis. While the nose chassis retracts (upstream) into the abdomen of the torso tip, the main chassis retracts (towards the longitudinal axis of the fuselage) into the mid-wings of the wing.
Under the wing of this machine are two pairs of weapon attach points. On them, the WJ-700 can, unlike the UAV type CH-4 / -5 and Wing Loong I / II , carrying regular airborne missiles. On the other hand, the UAV weapon type CH-4 / -5 and Wing Loong I / II are limited to light ammunition designed specifically for UAV.
Other characteristics of the UAV are not disclosed. In particular, it is not yet clear whether this model is launched into mass production or is still under development. According to experts, the drone of this type is equipped with stealth technology for radar and is armed with air-to-surface missiles. It can be used to attack mobile control stations, radar stations, armored vehicles and troop assemblies, surface targets, carry out reconnaissance missions, early warning and interference.
A video featuring China's flying saucer-like stealth drone, the Sky Hawk, was shown for the first time on China Central Television (CCTV) on 05 January 2019, with leading military experts saying the technologies mastered by Chinese developers will allow the drone to fly faster, farther and avoid detection. Independently developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, the Sky Hawk conducted a test flight at an undisclosed location in China, the CCTV report said. The video showed the drone taking off and landing, marking the first time that the aircraft has been publicly seen in flight.
The drone reportedly first flew in February 2018, but no video was available before the broadcast. It was on display at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province in November 2018 but was never flown there. The step-by-step revelations mean the drone is being developed and manufactured on schedule, and that China considers the drone feasible, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on 06 January 2019. Another Chinese stealth drone with a "flying wing" design, the CH-7, developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, was also on display at the air show. Its 22-meter wingspan makes it significantly larger than the Sky Hawk, providing another choice for domestic and international users.
Featuring a "flying wing" aerodynamic design similar to the US B-2 stealth bomber, the Sky Hawk is a high-altitude, long-range and high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle capable of conducting reconnaissance and patrol missions in hostile environments, CCTV reported. Controlling an aircraft with a "flying wing" design is much more difficult than controlling an aircraft with conventional design. A turbofan engine on a flying wing aircraft allows it to fly much faster and farther compared with traditional turboprop or piston engine aircraft.
The US has developed the X-47B stealth drone and run tests on aircraft carriers. Although the US project was suspended in favor of a stealth tanker drone, the US still has the edge in related technologies. The Sky Hawk will also operate on China's future aircraft carriers that will use electromagnetic catapults.
|Guidance||inertial + GPS|
|Drive||one dual-flow engine of unknown type|
Suspended equipment on four hardpoints
|Max. takeoff weight||3 500 kg|
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|