Chinese arms firm ready to deliver indigenous helicopter drones

By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/29 19:34:22

CR500 Golden Eagle unmanned helicopter systems pass inspection for delivery in 2020. Photo: Screenshots from the WeChat account of NORINCO

As a top Chinese arms firm was recently cleared to deliver its made-for-export multipurpose helicopter drone system, which can conduct missions including reconnaissance, communication relay and battle damage assessment at a long endurance, analysts referred to it on Sunday as a good partner for tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artillery. 

Developed by the state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO), the CR500 Golden Eagle unmanned helicopter system recently passed final inspections for delivery, the company said in a statement released in its WeChat account on Friday.

Passing the final inspections indicates that NORINCO has made a breakthrough in developing and manufacturing mid-to-large-sized drone systems, the company said.

The statement did not reveal the recipient or other potential clients. 

Designed to meet the demands of the arms trade, the CR500 Golden Eagle is a coaxial rotor helicopter drone designed for multiple missions including battlefield reconnaissance, target positioning and illuminating, communication relay and battle damage assessment, NORINCO said, noting that the drone, its mission payloads and ground control stations are all made by the company.

This type of helicopter drone can operate with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artilleries, as it will greatly expand their situational awareness by letting them know where the enemies are and guide them to attack, a military expert told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

The drone can carry a large payload, has a long endurance even when fully loaded, and a compact structure that can be easily stored and transported. It can also resist strong winds, carry different types of electro-optical pods and payloads, and act as a logistics support craft and deliver materials with pinpoint accuracy, the company said.

When equipped with weapons like machine guns and anti-tank missiles, the helicopter drone could also conduct armed reconnaissance missions, the expert said.

The unmanned helicopter also has potential for civilian use, including power grid and pipeline inspection, geological surveys, fire safety in forests and grasslands and emergency rescue, the NORINCO statement reads.

Multiple Chinese companies - state-owned and private - are now offering a variety of choice in unmanned helicopters, including the AR500C from the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Blowfish A2 from Guangdong-based Zhuhai Ziyan UAV Company that can operate in high-altitude border regions, an unidentified model spotted on China's Type 075 amphibious assault ship believed to be capable of amphibious combat, and the AV500 also by AVIC that can operate at night.

China has become a top player in the world in not only fixed wing aerial drones, but also helicopter drones, the expert said.

Posted in: MILITARY

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