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Tags: China | Air Show | drones | warfare

China Unveils New Warfare Drones at Air Show

By    |   Tuesday, 25 November 2014 03:45 PM EST

From the Chinese point of view, wars of the future are looking more like Star Wars every day.

During the recent Zhuhai Air Show, China unveiled a host of new developments in unmanned warfare drones, including a new holographic control display which very closely matches the drone battle scene from "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones," Popular Science reports.

AVIC (Aviation Industries Corp.), China's top aerospace manufacturer, unveiled its new GCS (Ground Control Station) in which holograms display the flight of an attack drone on a large screen, looking like a highly elaborate video game, which enables others to watch and nonoperators to learn from the flight of the drone the station is controlling.

But that's just the beginning, Zhuhai showed that China is developing a wide range of military drones, ranging from the Sharp Eye III drone helicopter from Norinco, which looks like an aluminum model helicopter without windows, to the super-futuristic looking Blue Fox, an unmanned jet aimed at simulating a manned jet and flying into an enemy's area to detect air defense systems.

The WJ-1 is China's premier attack drone. Once called the Pterodactyl, it is capable of hauling a large selection of glide bombs, guided rockets and anti-tank missiles into combat, and already is being sold to Middle Eastern countries.

China's WJ-600 looks like a cruise missile, a stealthier upgrade from its former self, and four years ago, at the same air show, Chinese videos showed the earlier, less-stealthy version launching a simulated attack against a U.S. Arleigh Burke class destroyer, Popular Science notes.

The Blue Fox, also from AVIC, has the sleek, deadly appearance of a model airplane enthusiast's dreams. Based on the design of the L-15 Chinese jet trainer, the red and blue dart-like drone boasts two turbojet engines, giving it 12 tons of thrust, and can mount afterburners.

The twin-propeller VD-200 mimics a stealth bomber in miniature in appearance, shooting straight up into the air nose-first and then leveling off in flight. Another version, the VD-200 VTOL, also takes off and lands vertically, but can fly for up to eight hours with an array of sensors or small bombs, Popular Science reports.

Being away from land won't limit Chinese drone capabilities. The S-100 UAV can land and launch from the water like a seaplane, carries a large payload of missiles and can fly for eight hours to spot enemy vessels or missiles.

China is also in the balloon business, developing the tethered VTAS Aerostar, a 16-meter-long device like a shrunken dirigible which can hover 1,000 feet above warships, stay up for a month, carry a wide array of sensor, provide early warning of oncoming enemy missiles and survive a typhoon.

China also may have a new supersonic drone, but they aren't talking. The Dark Sword, or Anjian, had been displayed at the Zhuhai show, but was pulled after 2006, the Daily Mail reports, and may be under development as a super-drone capable of extremely high speeds.

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From the Chinese point of view, wars of the future are looking more like Star Wars every day.
China, Air Show, drones, warfare
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 03:45 PM
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