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Chengdu WZ-7 Xianglong ("Soaring Dragon") joined-wing UAV/UCAV

Deino

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It seems as Chengdu's stealty UAV has started with its taxi-tests !!!

http://www.fyjs.cn/bbs/htm_data/27/0810/159906.html


Cheers, Deino
 

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AeroFranz

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Nice find! I wasn't even aware of the existence of this program.
The general layout draws a lot from Global Hawk obviously, including the 'Tuxedo' paint scheme. The general size seems smaller (say 2/3rds), and the engine is either much smaller or of lower bypass ratio than the AE3007H. That means either lower altitude or shorter endurance (or both). Just like Global Hawk, though, I wouldn't say that it's a stealthy design.
 

collins355

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It is Xianglong (Soaring Dragon), for ocean recon.

Length: 14.3m
Wingspan: 25m
Height: 5.4m
Normal TO weight: 7500kg
Mission Load: 650kg
Cruise Altitude: 18000m
Cruise Speed: 750km/h
Cruise Range: 7000km
 

Deino

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Can You please give us some hint about the source for that info ?

... as far as I know this was called "Sky Wing" !?


Deino
 

Apophenia

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Okay, now I'm totally confused.

Soar Dragon was attributed to GAIC (Guizhou Aircraft Ind. Corp.). But Jane's noted that the model on display at the 2006 Air Show China display featured a CADI (Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute) logo. Which prompted Armada to report than Chengdu and Guizhou were working together on a HALE Global Hawk clone.

"Am I still me? And, if not, who's eating this chicken?"

[ADDED]

I'm guessing that the confusion stems from all of these UAVs being attributed to AVIC I (China Aviation Industry Corporation I) which includes both Chengdu and GAIC (although, according to Global Security, the latter is primarily a marketing firm).

As for the specs in questioned, those belong to Soar Dragon (Xianglong). The twin-boomed pusher Sky Wing (Tianyi) resembles some of the smaller Israeli TUAV/mini UAVs.

http://www.militaryparitet.com/nomen/china/avia/data/ic_nomenchinaavia/19/

Chengdu Aircraft Industries (Group) Co. (AVIC I) Tianyi (Sky Wing)

Length 2.465 m, span 4.179 m, weight 80 kg, payload 20 kg, endurance 3 h (120-150 km/h, radius of action 100km at 3000 meters.

CADI (AVIC I) Soar Dragon Intelligence UAV

Length 14.3 m, span 25.0 m, weight 7500 kg, payload 650 kg, range 7000 km (750 km/h at 18000 m)
 

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collins355

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Deino said:
Can You please give us some hint about the source for that info ?

... as far as I know this was called "Sky Wing" !?


Deino
The source is the display info at the 2006 Zhuhai airshow. As Apophenia noted above, people seem to have gotten very confused. Sky Wing/Tianyi is a smaller pusher prop UAV displayed near Xianglong. There is also a Guizhou design with a diamond-shaped joined wing which some people confused for Xianglong...
http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/2246/uav2nb5.jpg
 

Deino

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Thanks !!

Deino :)
 

LowObservable

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Something fishy here.

Primarily, the inlet looks very small and the tail surfaces rather large. Also, there is nothing in the images which really allows you to estimate the size.

I call subscale demonstrator!
 

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That looks like one very small engine for something that could be the size of a Global Hawk??
I concur, something seems off.
 

collins355

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You're aware that the photos Deino posted are sceencaps from a video that is freely available on the web? The video features trucks and cars that are following the UAV, which is clearly conducting taxi tests with the shroud taken off its engine. The vehicles enable a better sense to be gained of the size of the UAV.
 

Trident

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I don't doubt the pictures and video are real, but the engine does look a bit... tiny. I don't think it is as big as the Global Hawk but even so it looks very small, perhaps the real engine isn't ready yet? Engine development has been quite labourious for other Chinese projects before.
 
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gentlemen,

look towards the top right hand corner of the fourth pic posted by Lantinian .


Ring a bell?

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3965.msg43777.html#msg43777

the one of the left is of course the same as the one in the link posted by Collins 355
 

AeroFranz

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Trident said:
I don't doubt the pictures and video are real, but the engine does look a bit... tiny. I don't think it is as big as the Global Hawk but even so it looks very small, perhaps the real engine isn't ready yet? Engine development has been quite labourious for other Chinese projects before.
That is a good point. Whatever is on the aircraft right now looks like a turbojet engine, not the turbofan which would make sense for a long-endurance platform. Also, even for a turbojet, the engine looks small. It looks like the dorsal pylon could accomodate a much longer engine...
I'm just venturing wild guesses here, but could it be that the chinese have thrown a non-definitive engine just for purposes of taxi tests, awaiting the end of the development of the actual powerplant? ???
 
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Aah remember my point about lantinian's pic ( right hand towards the top)

from http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=3965.0;attach=15437;image



, well finally somebody's managed to get a front on picture... B)
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a538d8344-aa0a-4059-a830-4adf64427493
 

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Trident

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AeroFranz said:
Trident said:
I don't doubt the pictures and video are real, but the engine does look a bit... tiny. I don't think it is as big as the Global Hawk but even so it looks very small, perhaps the real engine isn't ready yet? Engine development has been quite labourious for other Chinese projects before.
That is a good point. Whatever is on the aircraft right now looks like a turbojet engine, not the turbofan which would make sense for a long-endurance platform. Also, even for a turbojet, the engine looks small. It looks like the dorsal pylon could accomodate a much longer engine...
I'm just venturing wild guesses here, but could it be that the chinese have thrown a non-definitive engine just for purposes of taxi tests, awaiting the end of the development of the actual powerplant? ???
Seems the low resolution of the video captures in combination with the colour of the rear part of the engine against a similarly coloured background was deceiving. I found this reasonably detailed photo on www.sinodefenceforum.com, posted by sultan:

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i218/f1won/UAV1.jpg

That looks a lot more appropriate in terms of size, although the question of bypass-ratio remains.
 

AeroFranz

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Ahhh, yeah. I can see the full length of the turbojet now.
Is it the shape of the turbojet that tapers a lot, or is it installed at an angle to the fuselage longitudinal axis?
 

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New here, kinda. I don't know if there's a PLAAF thread, but here's a new (closed wing!) UAV made by CAC supposedly. Apparently it's called the Xianglong but is clearly different to the one we saw a few years ago:


Anyway here's what I posted over on SDF



Compare with the model seen a while ago...

(posted by =GT and pierrotlefou on CDF first)

AND...

So, I have a few things I want to say about this. I think the appearance of this uav (which does not look PSed), whatever and from whoever it is, can lead us to believe that models of these kind of uav's at past zhuhai airshows do have credit behind them and that we can probably see their prototypes within a few years (xianglong, pterodactyl, CH-3, and now this uav has all shown it quite reliably)
Therefore, I think in a few years we can look forward to this:

Not completely BS considering huitong says an X-45/X-47B class ucav by SAC will be flown in a year or so. The Warrior Eagle UCAV above certainly looks like it fits that category.
Next, it's a freaking boxed wing UAV!! gotta hand it to whoever designed this (I think it's CAC? They said on CD that it was called the Xianglong but it's clearly different to the one we've seen before about three years ago). Not even LH and NG have a real prototype of a closed wing aircraft yet I believe.
At least no one can claim it's a copy this time, but I have a feeling some might still try


If there's a PLAAF thread then please move this there, as it is probably more relevant there, cheers.
 

Deino

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Actually a really strange bird :eek:



 

donnage99

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Blitzo said:
At least no one can claim it's a copy this time, but I have a feeling some might still try
Copy doesn't have to mean a similar layout or look-alike. It can means getting the know-how to build the sensor suite, or software to fly-by-wire, etc. Does that mean that this aircraft borrows from many stolen technolgies? No one knows. However, you make it sound as though those who cry foul are Western fanboys. The fact of the matter is that it is no mistery that "Advanced Persistent Threat" from China is real and at work constantly. There have been numerous successful breach of US defense contractors' security walls as well as numerous trials on people transferring sensitive datas to China. I remember reading an article in which one of the official stated that for every one person they caught transferring classified datas, there are 12 others that go unnoticed due to the intelligence network being spread too thin with the War on Terror.
 

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donnage99 said:
Blitzo said:
At least no one can claim it's a copy this time, but I have a feeling some might still try
Copy doesn't have to mean a similar layout or look-alike. It can means getting the know-how to build the sensor suite, or software to fly-by-wire, etc. Does that mean that this aircraft borrows from many stolen technolgies? No one knows. However, you make it sound as though those who cry foul are Western fanboys. The fact of the matter is that it is no mistery that "Advanced Persistent Threat" from China is real and at work constantly. There have been numerous successful breach of US defense contractors' security walls as well as numerous trials on people transferring sensitive datas to China. I remember reading an article in which one of the official stated that for every one person they caught transferring classified datas, there are 12 others that go unnoticed due to the intelligence network being spread too thin with the War on Terror.
Chill, I'm aware of cyber espionage from both countries -- but it would be up in the air on how much they could learn, let alone develop and build from some data they might be able to glean.

I never said anyone who cries foul are western fanboys, just that this aircraft would not give anyone an excuse to do so. J-10(lavi), J-11B(flanker, fair enough with this one), and even some of the UAVs we've seen over the years like Pterodactyl(predator), the "other" Xianglong(global hawk) and even J-20(F-22, F-35, JASF?) have all been written off as copies or the like, without any indigenous research done.
I meant the statement in passing -- I don't think I have to convince anyone that people write off the PRC aerospace industry as a massive copying institute.

Regards
 

Deino

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Hmmm ... could it be that this is only a mock-up ? ???


 

flateric

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who stole the wheels?
 

Trident

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It seems to be fitted with an air data probe, so I would expect it to be flight worthy.
 

quellish

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flateric said:
who stole the wheels?
It's so powerful, the ground moves to get out of it's way.

It looks like they may be testing some of the RF apertures on the underside, but that's just a guess.
 

sferrin

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Deino said:
Hmmm ... could it be that this is only a mock-up ? ???



Nice! Lot's of wing area (high altitude) and it looks like they've put some thought into reducing it's RCS. It also looks fairly large. Maybe they plan on using this guy (or a development of it) for BAMS and targeting for the DF-21. On the other hand, if it could see the CVBG the CVBG could see it (likely long before). I don't imagine it would last very long against E-2D/Aegis/SM-6.
 

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I have no evidence so I apologize for pure speculation but with all these different platforms coming out of China I have a feeling that a lot of them are "really really nice models"
 

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Definitely looks as if the landing gear is shrouded. I'd say smaller than G-Hawk - no bad thing given G-Hawk's price tag.

At 65000 feet I have a horizon distance of 300+ miles, so detection range is a matter of radar design and power. That's also close to the max range of APS-145 on the E-2C.

And if I crank contrast and brightness I can see a belly fairing, and with an AESA I can have a pretty big aperture.

You're still not going to get anywhere stumbling blindly around the South China Sea looking for the CSG, but if you're cued by a RORSAT or a SOSUS-equivalent, you can use as an interceptor-tracker.

By the way, if I can locate the carrier with enough accuracy to cue ASBM then I probably don't care if some Rhino driver gets to add a little joined-wing stencil on the cockpit sill - if, that is, he has a place to land.
 

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That horizontal tail is HUGE!

Reminds me of the Teledyne Ryan 275 (minus the gigantic tail)
 

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2011-06-30 (China Military News cited from China-defense-mashup) -- According to some westerm resources, the Chengdu Xianglong UAV has completed its high-speed taxing test in October 2008. However recently a new exposed drone tells us that China is expanding its UAV family rapidly. In the Chinese Internet picture, this new unmanned aircraft has a diamond-shape wing structure. In 2006 Zhuhai Aie Show, China once displayed one similar model, which also called as "Xianglong". This situation also perhaps means that there is a drastic competition on the Project of high-altitude, long-duration UAV for China's strategic reconnaissance.
http://www.china-defense-mashup.com/new-xianglong-strategic-drone-exposed-in-chengdu.html
 

AeroFranz

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LowObservable said:
Definitely looks as if the landing gear is shrouded.
I can't see it. I only see small-ish (actuator?) fairings on the wings. Too bad we don't have a plan view, but if it's a typical joined wing configuration, then the front wing is too far ahead to provide a good location for the main units (relative to CG). Fuselage landing gear with splayed struts wouldn't give you good enough ground stability and you run the risk of dragging a wingtip on a crosswind landing. I would consider a bicycle+pogo arrangement, but it ceratinly eats into your fuselage payload volume allocation. Just my 2 cents.
 

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LowObservable said:
Definitely looks as if the landing gear is shrouded. I'd say smaller than G-Hawk - no bad thing given G-Hawk's price tag.

At 65000 feet I have a horizon distance of 300+ miles, so detection range is a matter of radar design and power. That's also close to the max range of APS-145 on the E-2C.
Except that the E-2 won't be hovering over the carrier but patroling a couple hundred miles out.
 

LowObservable

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Sferrin - A couple of hundred miles in which direction? Can the CSG support multiple E-2 orbits?

AF - I was unclear, sorry - shrouded as in covered by the structure/covers visible under the aircraft.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Sferrin - A couple of hundred miles in which direction? Can the CSG support multiple E-2 orbits?
Good question. With 4 E-2s onboard standard I'd think it would allow them to maintain two on orbit for extended periods of time. Also the UAV would still be line of sight limited when hunting for a carrier. What this means is if the UAV can see the carrier there are probably going to be a couple Aegis ships that can see the UAV, and hit it, even if the E-2 is looking another direction. SM-6 makes the situation more problematic as the E-2s could cue the SM-6s in areas it is patroling.
 

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Some thoughts:

1. The right angle between the vertical tail and the joined-wing-tail thing, as well as the right angle of the wing tail joint itself, suggest this drone is not meant to be all that stealthy when seen from the side or above. The right angle inside upper corner of the wing-tail joint also suggest no great attention to stealth from below.

2. If the model is scale accurate, then the aspect ratio of those joined wing-tails are remarkably high. It also seems as if the wings, despite its span, has too small an area to keep this thing in the air. How come?
 

AeroFranz

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Regarding point 2, the joined wing is effectively braced, so i suspect you can adopt higher AR for the same structural weight.
 

Deino

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Another one ....
 
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