China's Sunward Tech Star-lite SVU200 vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle has conducted its maiden flight.
The aircraft conducted several short test flights before conducting a 20-minute flight, said Dennis Fetters, the SVU200's designer, in a statement.
"The demonstration included multiple take-offs, landings, turns, sideways manoeuvres, quick-stops, backward flying and forward-cruise flights," said Fetters. "A lifting demonstration of 200kg (441 lbs) was also performed."
The SVU200 has a conventional helicopter layout, with a large main rotor and smaller tail rotor. Following the flights, the president of Sunward Tech, He Qing Hua, approved "full autonomous flight testing".
At the Aviation Expo/China 2011 last September in Beijing, Fetters told Flightglobal the aircraft has a 78hp (58kW) engine, and an endurance of up to 2.6h at its cruising speed of 177kmh. Fetters is a freelance American UAV designer who resides in China.
Fetters said the aircraft was designed to monitor powerlines, but SVU200 promotional material depicts it equipped with 18 rocket tubes and a chin-mounted electro optical/infrared sensor. Sunward said the SVU200 has a "maximum useful load" of 244kg.
Sunward plans to sell two units and a ground control station for yuan (CNY) 10 million ($1.6 million). The aircraft can carry a range of weapons and sensors and has two small internal storage compartments.
At the Beijing show a number of of indigenous VTOL UAVs were displayed, most of them developed by Chinese technical institutions, ostensibly for commercial purposes. One of the UAVs at the show, the YOTAISC X200, was also on static display at the exhibition hall of the Singapore Airshow 2012.
The X200 has a maximum payload of 100kg and two contra-rotating main rotors.