China Tests Helicopter Drone

China has successfully tested a medium-sized unmanned helicopter with a maximum takeoff weight of 757 kg.

Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry conducted a flight test of the helicopter, model number V750, at a facility in Weifang City in Shandong Province on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday.

The drone landed safely after completing various maneuvers at 25 m altitude for about 10 minutes, Xinhua added. The V750 made its first public appearance at an international airshow in Zhuhai last November, but this was the first official flight test.

The helicopter has a maximum load capacity of 80 kg. It can fly 500 km nonstop for more than four hours with a maximum speed of 161 km per hour. Its maximum operating altitude is 3,000 m.

China already has small unmanned helicopters with a takeoff weight of about 100 kg. Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace reportedly bought a U.S. aircraft engine company in 2009 with a view to developing medium-sized choppers.

Given its load capacity and operating altitude, the drone is believed to be capable of carrying out various military duties, as well as monitoring maritime environmental pollution and wildfires. Military experts in Beijing say it can be equipped with ground monitoring radar and a high-resolution camera.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 09, 2011 10:17 KST