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Guizhou Unveils Box-Wing UAV Concept
A new prop-driven, box-wing unmanned aerial vehicle concept has been unveiled by China’s Guizhou Aviation Industry Group (GAIC) at the 7th Vanguard Wings UAV show in Beijing, one of China’s major exhibitions for the rapidly growing sector.
Information on posters at the company’s stand, which opened from 22-24 June, indicate that while the new UAV is intended for surveillance, it could also perform ‘other’ roles, perhaps even active military missions.
Guizhou has already developed two larger jet-powered box-wing UAVs: the 7.5-tonne Soar Dragon revealed in 2006 and the similarly sized EA-03, which was unveiled in 2013.
In an evolution from the EA-03, which uses a separate V-tail for control, the latest Guizhou design incorporates the V-tail into the forward-swept portion of the box-wing, placing the engines at the junctions of the V-tail and the wing.
Images revealed on Chinese online forums indicate the concept has been tested in a pusher engine configuration. However, it may also be developed into a larger UAV in a tractor engine configuration.
There are reports that the EA-03 has entered production, but this cannot be confirmed from available public sources. As such, it is possible that Guizhou’s development of a prop-driven box-wing UAV may reflect the lack of a suitably reliable turbofan engine for the EA-03.
If powered by twin Rotax 914 series engines, a box-wing Guizhou design could be made larger than the new turboprop powered Chengdu Aircraft Industry Wing-Loong 2, which is currently being tested, and offer some performance advantages.
This design may also enable Guizhou to use two more readily developed smaller Chinese turbofans to build a UAV in excess of 7 tonnes suitable for multiple missions over disputed regions such as the South China Sea.
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13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
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