China’s plan leaked-a fleet of VTOL drones found on the PLA Navy’s Shandong aircraft carrier

First, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was discovered on the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) aircraft carrier Shandong. Shandong is currently undergoing maintenance and repairs at the Dalian Shipyard, according to Chinese state media reports.

On June 1, Chinese military aviation expert Andreas Ruprecht shared a UAV image on the deck of Chandon, suggesting that the aircraft carrier may be the first to have a drone on board. Did.

In late April, China’s state-owned Global Times conducted “first scheduled maintenance and refurbishment” at Dalian Shipyard after Shandong Province provided a two-year service to “improve the ease of use of the flat top.” I reported that.

Earlier in March, the carrier was reported to have sailed the Taiwan Strait near Xiamen Island in Taiwan, opposite Xiamen City in mainland China. According to media reports at the time, there were no aircraft on Chandon’s flight deck.

One of the UAVs discovered in Chandon has an inverted V-shaped tail and is similar to the Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAV reported to have been seen on a PLAN Type 075 LHD amphibious assault ship last December. ..

According to Chinese media reports, the 2021 edition of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Expo (Tonghai Aerospace Expo) first appeared in the CW-40 dual-purpose UAV designed and developed by the Chinese company JOUAV.

The UAV was also exhibited at the DSA2022 Defense Exhibition held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March this year.

Suspected witnessing of CW-40 mounted on Type 075 (Sohu Army)


The CW-40 is designed to perform reconnaissance, search and surveillance, participate in rescue operations, ensure security, monitor the environment, prevent forest fires and protect critical facilities.

The drone has a fuselage length of 2.3m and a wingspan of 4.6m. It can fly at an altitude of 4000m, has a takeoff weight of 45kg, and has a maximum payload of 10kg.

According to JOUAV Chairman Ren Bin, the CW-40 uses a domestic 4-stroke EFI engine.

The UAV is equipped with three photo-photoelectric pods for large areas and long-range video surveillance. JOUAV claims that the complete CW-40 system can be assembled and disassembled in 15 minutes.

China's Shandong aircraft carrier is ready for high seas testing, insiders say | South China Morning Post
File image via SCMP: Shandong aircraft carrier in China

PLA is actively promoting the adoption of UAVs for a variety of purposes, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) missions, attack objectives, and even unmanned aerial vehicles to simulate anti-aircraft combat scenarios.

If the UAV on the Chandon is a CW-40, it can play a role similar to the ASN-209 Medium Altitude, Medium Endurance (MAME) UAV known as the “Silver Eagle” with a range of 200km. Like the CW-40, it has a durability of up to 10 hours.

ASN-209 Multipurpose UAV System (ASN Technology)

Skyeagle can be targeted, electronic intelligence (ELINT), and electronic warfare (EW), and can also be used to guide missiles to targets.

Experts also suggest that PLANs may use this UAV as a ground or air force communication relay that accompanies satellite communications when they are compromised.

Will the PLA Navy be unmanned?

In addition to UAVs, PLAN is known to incorporate a variety of unmanned systems, including unmanned surface vehicles and underwater vehicles.

In addition, recent advances in artificial intelligence have led China to envision a greater role for unmanned platforms in the competition for maritime security and the management of sea lanes and marine resources.

China launched an unmanned vessel named Zhu Hai Yun last month. The vessel is remotely controllable, can navigate autonomously in the open ocean, and can carry dozens of drones, submersibles and other vessels for marine research.

China is also currently working on a next-generation amphibious assault ship known as the Type 076LHD, which is being developed as a successor to the Type 075LHD. It is said that it can be equipped with an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

China’s Stealth GJ-11 Sharp Sword UCAV is reportedly one of the drones scheduled to board the Type 076LHD, based on a CG simulation presented by the China Aviation Industry Group at the Zhuhai Air Show last year. there is.

The GJ-11 UAV has a length of 12.2m, wingspan of 14.4m, height of 2.7m, maximum takeoff weight of 10 tons or more, estimated payload of about 1.9 tons, and combat radius of 1,500 or more. Kilo with a durability of 6 hours.

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