PHOTOS: China’s Global Hawk?

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Photos have emerged on the China Defense Mashup web site ofa possible Chinese high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV at the Chengdu airfield.

The aircraft resembles the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 GlobalHawk, with a rear-mounted intake above the tail and long thin wings that wouldbe suitable for sustained high altitude flight. Unlike Global Hawk’s ‘V’ tailthe Chinese aircraft has a more traditional tail plane. China Mashup speculatesthat it is the Xianglong UAV, which first appeared in model form at the ChinaAir Show in Zhuhai in 2006.

If the J-20 exposure pattern (grainy photos followed byamateur video) is anything to go by, with luck we’ll see this UAV in flight inthe next few weeks.

This is the second sighting of a Chinese UAV in as manyweeks. Last week Japan Security Watch posted photos of a UAV apparentlyoperating from a Chinese warship. 

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5 Responses to PHOTOS: China’s Global Hawk?

  1. Maarten 30 June, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Interesting design. The spanwidth of the horizontal stabiliser looks almost as wide as the main wings and with downwards winglets.

  2. Scott taylor 1 July, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    Are the horizontal tailplanes and wings connected? Is this some sort of diamond-wing configuration?

    Cheers,

    Scott

  3. Meng 1 July, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    “Unlike Global Hawk’s ‘V’ tail the Chinese aircraft has a more traditional tail plane”

    I think it could be seen quite clearly from the photos, and from the Xianglong model at the airshow (which correlates exactly with the photos) that its a joined-tandem wing design, which points to a very high lift to drag and lift to weight ratio characteristic of this configuration

    What should also be noted is the very high landing gear clearance, which could indicate some sort of large external payload requirement.

  4. Dave 1 July, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    That looks like a traditional tailplane at first, but zooming in it appears to be a “joined wing” similar to all those Sensor Craft concepts. The back wing is presumably secured to the top of the engine mountings and joins the front one at about 75% span. It will be very interesting to see this fly, or at least get towed slowly, J-20 style, past the spotters!

  5. Jaap Dijkstra 1 July, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Just have a look at the 22 July 2008 Google Earth picture and you will see the bird sitting on the flight line.

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