Chinese airframer AVIC is investing yuan (CNY) 20 million ($3.2 million) in the U8 unmanned helicopter programme, which is being designed for civilian use.
The investment is being made through Jingdezhen Helicopter, said AVIC in a Hong Kong stock exchange statement. AVIC owns almost 54.7% of the company.
"With the rapid development of the society and economy, the unmanned helicopter is widely used in the context of maritime supervision, rescue, police patrol, traffic control, agriculture and forestry, air monitoring, forest fire prevention and electric power circuit detection," said AVIC.
The AVIC-owned China Helicopter Research & Development Institute has already invested CNY30 million in the project. It will issue a report on the validity of the programme by 30 September 2014.
AVIC displayed a prototype of the U8 at Beijing's Aviation Expo China trade show in September 2011. According to a Chinese military website, the aircraft has already completed a round of successful test flights.