Guizhou Soar Dragon

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Not to be confused with the Chengdu Sky Wing.
Soar Dragon
Soar Dragon HALE UAV.jpg
Role HALE unmanned aerial vehicle
National origin People's Republic of China
Manufacturer Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation
Designer Chengdu Aircraft Corporation
Status Under development
Primary user People's Liberation Army Air Force

The Guizhou Soar Dragon, (Chinese: 翔龙; pinyin: xiáng lóng) is an unmanned aerial vehicle of the High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) type, featuring an unusual joined, tandem wingplan. As of 2011 it is being developed by the People's Republic of China for reconnaissance and possible anti-shipping missions.

Design and development[edit]

The Soar Dragon, designed by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation and constructed by Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation for service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force, was originally displayed as a model at the Zhuhai Air Show in 2006.[1] Optimised for long-endurance missions at high altitude, the aircraft features an unusual tandem, joined wing platform.[2] Except for the wing, the Soar Dragon is similar in appearance and mission to the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk operated by the United States Air Force.[2]

Large by the standards of UAVs, the Soar Dragon's joined wing allows for a more rigid, less flexible wing planform than other configurations, with benefits said to include an increased lift-to-drag ratio and less complex flight controls than a HALE UAV with a conventional wing would require.[1] The aircraft is powered by a Guizhou WP-13 turbojet engine, a developed copy of the Soviet Tumansky R-13; it is anticipated that a newer, improved engine, will be installed in production aircraft.[1] The air intake for the engine is mounted atop the fuselage, with the engine itself mounted in the rear of the aircraft.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The Soar Dragon is not known to have yet conducted its maiden flight, however it is undergoing radar cross section and other electromagnetic tests in anticipation of flight testing.[1]

In service with the PLAAF, the primary mission of the Soar Dragon is expected to be aerial reconnaissance, but it is anticipated that the aircraft will also be fitted with sensors suitable for designating naval vessels for targeting by anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.[2]

Specifications[edit]

Artist's impression of the Guizhou Soar Dragon

Data from AirForces Monthly[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 14.33 m (47 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 24.86 m (81 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 5.41 m (17 ft 9 in)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Guizhou WP-13 turbojet, 43.1 kN (9,700 lbf) thrust

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 750 km/h; 466 mph (405 kn)
  • Range: 7,000 km (4,350 mi; 3,780 nmi)
  • Combat range: 2,000 km (1,243 mi; 1,080 nmi)
  • Endurance: 10 hours
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,055 ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 5.8

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Parsons, Gary, ed. (September 2011). "News Headlines: Has China Unveiled Its Soar Dragon?". AirForces Monthly (London: Key Publishing) (282): 4–5. ISSN 0955-7091. 
  2. ^ a b c Newdick, Thomas, ed. (September 2011). "World News: China's Soar Eagle UAV revealed". Combat Aircraft (Hersham, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Publishing) 12 (9): 30. ISSN 2041-7489.