China last week tested a heavy cargo airdrop by an unmanned single-engine biplane.
The test marks the first ever airdrop in China of cargo weighing more than 500 kilograms on a flight distance of more than 500 kilometers with an unmanned transport aircraft, CCTV quoted Li Ruixing, the president of the PLA National Defense University's joint logistics academy, as saying.
“Airdrops often take place within the range of hostile anti-aircraft fire, so being unmanned lowers risk to life, the expert said,” an expert said.
The feat was achieved during an aerial delivery exercise conducted recently in Zhangye, Northwest China's Gansu Province. The exercise was jointly held by National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
“More unmanned transport aircraft could join the Chinese military logistics arsenal for long-range and heavy delivery in the future, as the Chinese military recently made breakthroughs in the heavy cargo delivery exercise with an unmanned transport plane,” Chinese military analysts said.
"We … explored a new model of military cargo delivery in joint combat as well as in strategic and tactical logistics support," Li said.
“Since transport planes usually do not need to make intense and complicated manoeuvers like fighter jets, even heavier cargo delivery missions could become unmanned if this technology becomes mature,” a military expert told the Global Times on Sunday.
"The exercise met our expected objective. It is very significant for our unmanned logistics chain in future warfare," said Bi Guangyuan, executive director of the exercise, CCTV reported.