New Chinese VTOL UAVs

The weaponised X-Cloud A-Hawk II tilt-rotor VTOL UAV. (David Oliver)

The Chinese state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) unveiled two models of its A-Hawk series of strike-capable, reconnaissance vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the Dubai Airshow 2017.

The multi-rotor A-Hawk I, Cloud-2, is powered by eight electric engines and has a weight of 175kgs and able to carry a sensor payload of 65kg, to an altitude of 3,000m. The 3.47m UAV has a maximum speed of 60 km/h and an endurance of 30 minutes.  Although it was described as a surveillance platform, the model on display was shown carrying two small rocket launchers.

The larger A-Hawk II, or Cloud-2, powered by four tilting ducted fans has a maximum take-off weight of 120kg and carry a payload of both sensors and short-range missiles. It can also fly at 60 km/h and an altitude of 5,000m with an endurance of four hours.

Its typical applications are reported to include attacking terrorists and their bases, safety of secure areas, suppressing firepower and the destruction of high value targets. Its civilian applications include tall building surveillance and cargo transportation, such as medical supplies, over short distances.

The multi-rotor UAVs were developed the Beijing based X-Cloud UAV, the firm that also developed the Polar Hawk-2 which completed its first flight from the Great Wall Station in the South Pole in January 2016, equipped with an infrared thermometer, radar ranging equipment and an optical camera.

by David Oliver