China’s first ship-based helicopter-style drone completed its maiden flight last month at the developer’s test facility in Jiangxi, China. The new drone is expected to be used as a scout on warships and by the Coast Guard to assess situations and help with emergencies.

The new drone goes by AR-500B and is designed to be used for maritime surveillance for the Chinese Navy and civilian ships. The drone doesn’t appear to support arms, but it could always be modified to carry them.

The drone has been developed by the Chinese company China Helicopter Research and Development Institute, which worked under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

During the test, the drone completed takeoff and landing, hovering, and simple maneuvering tests during a 30-minute time frame. The drone has reportedly been optimized for the maritime industry, making it able to withstand humidity, mold, and saltwater. It also has a guidance system that allows it to land vertically on a ship’s deck.

According to the Chinese magazine Ordnance Industry Science Technology, the drone fills an important gap and could be used in swarms to provide better coverage for ships in the South China and East China seas. The drone has a maximum take-off weight of 1,102 pounds, with a maximum payload of 154 pounds. It can fly up to 13,120 feet and flies at a max speed of 86 miles per hour.

Earlier this month, another Chinese-made drone was announced to be ready for international sale. The CR500 Golden Eagle is a reconnaissance drone that can also be equipped with up to 18 missiles and is meant to be used alongside the VT-4 battle tanks. The company behind it, North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO), has also shared that the drone has been specifically designed to be sold to other countries.

Photo: China Helicopter Research and Development Institute

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