Chinese UAV employed missiles

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China has developed several UAV employed missiles and precision-guided bomb (PGB), but very little information about these weaponry has been released. These missiles and PGB however, were revealed to public as weapon systems carried by Chinese UAVs when those UAVs was exhibited, first at 13th Beijing Airshow held in the second half of 2009, and then again a year later at the 9th Zhuhai Airshow held in the 3rd quarter of 2010. A total of seven Chinese UAV employed missiles have made their public debut and they are describes below:

KD1[edit]

KD1 is a Chinese UAV employed missile that was mentioned by the developer of KD2 UAV employed missile in both airshows where other Chinese UAV employed missiles & PGB made their public debut, and KD1 is the predecessor of KD2. With the exception of reference by its developers, KD1 did not appear in any of the airshows with other Chinese UAV employed missiles & PGB, and thus many Chinese military enthusiasts have claimed that KD1 is an experimental version that paved the way for its successor KD2. However, such claims have yet to be verified by governmental or independent sources.

KD2[edit]

KD2 is a KD1 is a Chinese UAV employed missile developed from KD1, and it made its public debut as a weapon system of Sky Eagle HW-600 (also known as WJ-600) UCAV developed by the 3rd Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (中国航天科工三院), which is also the developer of C-701 anti-ship missile. KD2 appears to be a miniature version of C-701, with identical aerodynamic layout.[1] Not only the numbers of control surfaces are the same for both, and so are the arrangements: the larger trapezoid shaped control surfaces are located in the middle section, while the much smaller control surfaces are located in the tail. However, the control surfaces at the tail are in different shapes for KD2, which is rectangular, while that of C-701 is trapezoid shaped. As with C-701, KD2 also adopts rocket engine for propulsion.[2][3]

LMD-002[edit]

LMD-002 is one of the two models of a Chinese UAV employed missile series named as LM, short for Lei Ming, (Leiming, 雷鸣 meaning Thunder Roars). Both models weigh around 5 kg, and with a maximum range of 4.2 km.[4] Both models are powered by micro turbojet engine developed by Shanghai Thunder Turbine Manufacture Co., Ltd. (上海雷霆微型涡轮发动机有限公司), with side intakes.[5] The only difference between the two models is in the guidance systems, and LMD-002 is TV guided. The aerodynamic layout of both missiles is identical, with four smaller rectangular shaped control surfaces in front, and four larger trapezoid shaped control surfaces in the tail.[6]

LMD-003[edit]

LMD-003 is one of the two models of a Chinese UAV employed missile series named as LM, short for Lei Ming (Leiming, 雷鸣 meaning Thunder Roars). Both models weigh around 5 kg, and with a maximum range of 4.2 km.[4] Both models are powered by micro turbojet engine developed by Shanghai Thunder Turbine Manufacture Co., Ltd. (上海雷霆微型涡轮发动机有限公司), with side intakes.[5] The only difference between the two models is in the guidance systems, and LMD-003 is semi-active laser guided. The aerodynamic layout of both missiles is identical, with four smaller rectangular shaped control surfaces in front, and four larger trapezoid-shaped control surfaces in the tail.[7]

Sky Arrow[edit]

Sky Arrow (Tian Jian, or Tianjian, 天箭 in Chinese), is another Chinese UAV employed missile that made its public debut along with LMD-002 & LMD-003, all as part of weapon system carried by Blue Eagle AD200W developed by Beijing Keyuan Light Aircraft Industrial Co., Ltd. (北京科源轻型飞机实业有限公司). Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the developer of Sky Arrow UAV employed missile is one of the four partners who jointly developed the Blue Eagle AD200W UCAV system, and AVIC was responsible for the primary weaponry system. Sky Arrow UAV employed missile should not be confused with another Chinese UAV employed missile, Sky Arrow 90, which is not related to Sky Arrow at all, because the two missiles are two completely separate programs separately developed on their own.

Sky Arrow UAV employed missile is lighter than LMD-002 and LMD-003, weighing 3 kg, and its maximum range is also shorter than that of the LMD-002 and LMD-003, which is 3.2 km. Sky Arrow is TV guided like LMD-002.[8] The aerodynamic layout of Sky Arrow contains four pairs of control surfaces, with four parallelogram shaped ones in front, and four smaller trapezoid shaped ones in the tail,[9] and the missile uses rocket motor instead of turbojet engine and thus does not have any intake.[10]

Sky Arrow 90[edit]

Sky Arrow 90 (Sky Arrow = Tian Jian, or Tianjian, 天箭 in Chinese) is a Chinese guided rocket first made its debut in the 9th Zhuhai Airshow, and it should not be confused with Sky Arrow, the Chinese UAV employed missile, which is not related to Sky Arrow 90 at all, because the two missiles are two completely separate programs separately developed on their own. While Skay Arrow was newly developed to meet the new demand of Chinese UCAV, Sky Arrow 90 is developed from Type 90-1 unguided rocket. Sky Arrow 90 is developed by the Shenyang plant of Harbin Jiancheng Group Co. Ltd. (哈尔滨建成集团有限公司), a wholly owned subsidiary of Norinco. Although Sky Arrow 90 has been exhibited as a weapon system of UAVs, it can and has already been adopted by Chinese armed force for manned aircraft such as fixed wing and rotary aircraft.

Sky Arrow 90 share the same layout of its predecessor Type 90-1 air-launched unguided rocket, but with some design modifications to accommodate the change needed for guidance control. Most of the design parameters remain the same, such as maximum speed is still Mach 2, diameter is still 90 mm, weight is still around 17 kg, length is still around 1.25 m, depending on different warheads installed.[11] The most significant difference is that two pairs of additional control surfaces have been added in front, and the addition of guidance systems. The maximum range is increased from the original 7 km of the unguided Type 90-1 to 8 km of Sky Arrow 90. Without the significant increase in size and weight due to the additional guidance and flight control system, the increased range would mean the decrease in the size of warhead installed. However, in comparison to unguided Type 90-1 rockets, dozens of which would be needed to take out a target, taking out the same target would only require two to three Sky Arrow 90, so the combat effective has actually increased and the smaller warhead is thus not a problem. Although the developer has claimed a variety of guidance systems such as infra-red and millimeter wave radar guidance can be adopted, only semi-active laser (SAL), laser beam riding and satellite guidance versions have been mentioned by the developer at exhibitions to be ready for potential customers. It’s reported that SAL version of Sky Arrow 90 is the one entered Chinese service.[12]

TBI[edit]

TBI is a Chinese UAV employed missile that was first revealed at the 9th Zhuhai Airshow held in the 3rd quarter of 2012. Very little information is released about this missile except that it is a weapon system for Sky Eagle HW-600 (also known as WJ-600) UCAV developed by 3rd Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (3rd Academy of CASIC). TBI missile is smaller than KD2, another Chinese UAV employed missile that is also carried by the same UCAV, and TBI only has two pairs of control surfaces instead of four pairs of KD2. The triangular shaped control surfaces are mounted near the tail of the missile.[2][3] TBI should not be confused with TB-1 missile, a MANPADS with the capability against both the aerial target and light armored vehicles, because TB-1 is a development of QW-1 SAM, which is totally different missile from the air-to-surface missile TBI employed by UAV.

ZD1[edit]

ZD1 is a Chinese UAV employed missile that was first revealed at the 9th Zhuhai Airshow held in the 3rd quarter of 2012. Very little information is released about this missile except that it is a weapon system for Sky Eagle HW-600 (also known as WJ-600) UCAV developed by 3rd Academy of CASIC.[2][3] ZD1 consists of an unguided small caliber bomb with separate guidance attachment for different types of guidance, depending on the customers’ requirement. Although the developer at the exhibitions has claimed a variety of guidance systems can be adopted and some of the guided versions have already entered Chinese service, most of such guided versions have not appeared to have made their public debut yet. ZD1 displayed at the exhibitions as part of the weapon system of Chinese UCAVs appears to be unguided bombs, because SAL/TV/IR guidance seeker attachment needed for such guidance were not present. However, for simple satellite guidance, the guidance system is compact enough to be integrated into the bomb itself and no additional external attachment is needed separately, but staffs of the developer at exhibitions has refused to provide any affirmative answer when asked by many Chinese military enthusiasts.

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