Claimed to be the world's first, a three-engine large drone made its first flight in China last Thursday which can be used in transport and attack missions.
Developed by Chengdu-based Tengden Technology Co, the drone took off and landed on Thursday morning at an airfield in Southwest China, marking its successful maiden flight, Chengdu Daily reported on Friday.
The drone has a width (wingspan) of 20 meters and a length of 11 meters. It is equipped with three piston engines, with one under each wing and one on its tail, enabling it to have a maximum takeoff weight of 3.2 tons and an endurance of 35 hours, according to the report.
It has a flight ceiling of 9,500 meters, a max climb rate of 10 meters a second and a top speed of more than 300 kilometers an hour, the report said, noting that it is very adaptable and can be deployed in airfields in plateau areas.
The drone is a three-engine variant of Tengden's twin-engine TB Twin-tailed Scorpion, as this design is a world first for drones, Chengdu Daily said. The drone will be "put into market in all fronts" in 2021, chinanews.com reported meaning it could be offered for domestic as well as exports.
The drone uses piston engines, which are low cost but have long lifespans, it is also very cost efficient. The extra engine makes this new drone more powerful, capable of carrying more payload and taking off at shorter ranges, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday.