New drone un­veiled for air­craft car­rier

Un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle can take off with cat­a­pult launch

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Liu Xuanzun in Zhuhai

Anew drone with fold­ing wings and the po­ten­tial to be deployed on China’s third air­craft car­rier de­buted at Air­show China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guang­dong Prov­ince this week.

Pre­vi­ously only seen in an il­lus­tra­tion re­leased a week be­fore the show, the HK-5000G un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (UAV) ap­peared on dis­play at the booth of the Aero­ma­rine Intelligent Equip­ment Com­pany, a sub­sidiary of the China Ship­build­ing

In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion.

No de­tailed de­scrip­tion was of­fered at the booth other than it was a medium- and high-al­ti­tude long en­durance un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle.

The tech­ni­cal de­tails were not given as the com­pany is still ad­just­ing the ve­hi­cle, Liu Yubao, vice man­ager of the com­pany’s re­search and de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment, told the Global Times. The HK-5000G is a ves­sel­based armed re­con­nais­sance drone, Liu said. “It can

carry a pay­load for scout­ing mis­sions or mis­siles for com­bat.”

The ve­hi­cle has an en­durance of 12 hours and weighs about 5 tons, Liu said, not­ing that this was only ini­tial data and li­able to change.

Mil­i­tary ob­servers spec­u­lated the fold­ing wings on the drone in­di­cate its po­ten­tial for air­craft car­ri­ers.

Fold­ing wings save space on a flight deck and are less nec­es­sary on land.

Liu con­firmed the guess, say­ing the HK-5000G is in­deed de­signed for air­craft car­ri­ers.

“We have al­ready made many pre-stud­ies in­clud­ing take­off and land­ing on an air­craft car­rier and air­craft-ves­sel adap­ta­tion,” he

said. It’s more dif­fi­cult to take off and land on a flight deck at sea with the space, ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion re­quire­ments, Liu noted.

Given the HK-5000G’s size, its 5-ton weight and its engine, a ski jump take­off was out, Liu said. The UAV must use a cat­a­pult.

Air­craft car­ri­ers Liaon­ing and the Type 001A have ski jumps, not cat­a­pults.

In June an il­lus­tra­tion cap­tured at a meet­ing of China Ship­build­ing In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion sug­gested that China’s third air­craft car­rier will use an elec­tro­mag­netic cat­a­pult.

As the tech­nol­ogy ma­tures, drones will be widely used on air­craft car­ri­ers, a mil­i­tary ex­pert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Thurs­day.

“A ves­sel-based drone can ex­pand the re­con­nais­sance ca­pa­bil­ity of its moth­er­ship and pro­vide fire sup­port,” the ex­pert said. Al­though ex­hibit­ing at the Novem­ber 6-11 show, the drone is not for ex­port,

Liu said.

Brazil­ian plane­maker Em­braer SA shows off its E-190-E2 air­liner to spec­ta­tors at Air­show China 2018 on Thurs­day.

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