Shiny and purple. It may look like a baddy chopper from an ’80s TV movie made in a Foxconn factory, but it’s China’s latest flying machine, the V750. And it means the Chinese’s aerospace industry is maturing dangerously quickly.
At least for the liking of the United States’ defence companies, who are seeing how the Chinese are advancing at a pace that few thought possible, despite their initial troubles in getting some parts right. They are quickly moving from copying everything to introducing their own designs and innovations, and it’s only going to get better for them.
The V750 looks as large as the Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout, and it is capable of travelling farther (500km vs 200km) while carrying almost the same load (80kg vs 90kg). The Chinese just tried it in Shangdong, and apparently it worked just fine.
They say it is designed for “peaceful” operations, like transport and surveillance, but it obviously could be modified for other less friendly tasks. While the V750 is not the largest unmanned helicopter in the world – that’s probably Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace’s K-MAX transport UAV, capable of carrying 380kg of cargo at 12,000 feet (3600m) – it’s quite a serious bird.
One more reason to sign up for those Mandarin lessons.