Air Platforms

Military parade reveals Turkmenistan's new Chinese-built UAVs

02 November 2016
One of two Chinese-made WJ-600A/D UCAVs displayed at Turkmenistan's 27 October military parade. Source: via Yaslyk TV

Turkmenistan paraded newly-acquired Chinese-made weapon systems, including several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), during its Independence Day parade on 27 October.

The Central Asian country revealed that it has become one of the first foreign buyers of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) WJ-600A/D turbofan-powered unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

It is unclear, however, whether Turkmenistan has acquired more WJ-600A/Ds than the two seen in the parade.

First seen at the 2010 Airshow China in Zhuhai, the WJ-600 is an armed reconnaissance vehicle with the primary role of medium-altitude surveillance combined with the ability to perform long-range targeting and post-strike assessment, according to IHS Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment .

The UCAV, which has also been delivered to China's People's Liberation Army Air Force, can be configured with two different engines: either a turbojet (WJ-600) or a turbofan (WJ-600A).

At the Airshow China 2014 CASIC revealed that the WJ-600A/D variant has an endurance of up to five hours and that it can carry a payload of more than 130 kg.

During Turkmenistan's 27 October parade the UCAV was shown carrying two CASIC CM-502KG short-range surface-to-air missiles.

One of two Chinese-made CH-3 UCAVs paraded by Turkmenistan during the country's 27 October military parade. (via Yaslyk TV)One of two Chinese-made CH-3 UCAVs paraded by Turkmenistan during the country's 27 October military parade. (via Yaslyk TV)

The WJ-600A/D, which is launched by a rocket booster and recovered via parachute, can be equipped with a synthetic aperture radar as well as an optical surveillance system to perform reconnaissance and damage assessment, according to CASIC. It can reportedly also carry the YZ-200 laser-guided bomb.

Also displayed at the Turkmenistan parade were two China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-3 UCAVs armed with CASC AR-1 air-to-surface missiles.

A Chinese-made fast aerial target, called the S-300, also featured in the parade. This type of target drone is likely to be used to train operators of Turkmenistan's Chinese-made HQ-9, KS-1A, and FM-90 surface-to-air missile systems, all of which also featured in the parade.

Turkmenistan also revealed that it has purchased other Chinese systems such as the YLC-18 medium-range radar, the YLC-2V surveillance radar and the TS-504 tropospheric scatter communication system.

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