The Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC) has marked the first big sales order for its AV500 helicopter UAV dubbed as copycat of the US-made Fire-scout UAV.
A preliminary sales contract for 10 AV500 helicopter UAVs has been signed with the Wuhan Aviation Industry UAV Service (WAIUS) during the China Heli-Expo at Tianjin on October 10, AVIC announced on Monday.
The value of contract was not known. These UAV will be used in the fields of oil and gas, ocean, power grid, forest protection, security and counter-terrorism, AVIC said.
The AV500 has made rapid progress from development to sales. It completed its first night operation only in June this year sending back clear infrared images of its target vessel while flying some 114 kms in saline and humid conditions over the South China Sea.
In an earlier test, it conducted a precision-strike against a ground target by firing an on-board missile. It has since been cleared for sales.
The AV500 can be equipped with laser-guided missiles and machine guns besides electro-optical pods for reconnaissance. Its maximum take-off weight (MTOW) is 500kg with a payload of 190kg, and its flying height ceiling is 5,000 meters, boasting a maximum endurance of nine hours and a control radius of 200km.
In comparison, the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout UAV is a much bigger platform with a MTOW of 2721kg, payload of 227kg, flight ceiling of 16000 ft.