China’s CASIC WJ-700 Combat Unmanned Air Vehicle Completes Maiden Flight

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) appears to have conducted the maiden sortie of the WJ-700 combat unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The drone integrates high altitude, high speed, long endurance and large load capacities, and focuses on the domestic and international market needs in the next five to 10 years. The WJ-700, a high-altitude, long-endurance and high-speed armed reconnaissance drone said to be able to create a new pattern for drone combat, successfully conducted a maiden flight test recently. The maiden flight test, which took place early Monday morning, verified the correctness and feasibility of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, laying the foundation for future production of the model. After completing various system-level tests and verifications, it will be officially put into combat applications

The WJ-700 is the only high-altitude, high-speed and long-endurance drone capable of executing both attack and reconnaissance missions in China, and is also a rare type in the world. The unmanned air vehicle is characterized by its large payload and ability to launch large munitions from outside hostile anti-aircraft fire coverage zone. It is capable of performing air-to-surface precision strikes in multiple situations such as stand-off ground attacks, anti-ship, and anti-radiation attacks. Compared to other popular drones, the distinguishing characteristic of the WJ-700 is its large size, meaning it has an outstanding payload capacity that allows it to carry larger munitions like anti-ship missiles and stand-off weapons that enable the drone to launch attacks from outside of an enemy anti-aircraft fire coverage zone.

China's CASIC WJ-700 Combat Unmanned Air Vehicle Completes Maiden Flight
China’s CASIC WJ-700 Combat Unmanned Air Vehicle Completes Maiden Flight

At the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow, CASIC unveiled a medium-/high-altitude long-endurance (MALE/HALE) armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle named WJ-700 with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 3,500 kg and an endurance of up to 20 hours. It has four underwing hardpoints and can carry CM-102 anti-radiation missile, C-701, and C-705KD anti-ship missiles, but also land attack munition.The WJ-700 UAV adopts a number of advanced technologies, and key performance indicators such as endurance, range and payload capacity have reached the domestic leading and international advanced level of UAVs of the similar caliber. It is estimated that Chinese military-use UAV sales would take up around 25 percent of the global UAV market by 2024, or 17 billion yuan ($2.6 billion). The total revenue of Chinese military-use drones is expected to exceed 110 billion yuan in the next 10 years, the People’s Liberation Army publicity department wrote in an article on its WeChat public account on Tuesday.

The CASIC WJ series UAVs are Chinese UAVs developed by 3rd Academy Hiwing (or HW for short) of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), and this academy is also more commonly known as HiWING Mechanical and Electrical Technology Corp, or HiWING for short. The China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) is a Chinese state-owned enterprise that designs, develops and manufactures a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment. Recent commercial aerospace projects include Feiyun (F-Cloud), Kuaiyun (K-Cloud), Xingyun (X-Cloud), Hongyun (H-Cloud), Tengyun (T-Cloud) and T-Flight (Supersonic Train System). CASIC has contributed to national projects such as manned spaceflight and lunar exploration. CASIC is the largest maker of missiles in China.

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