CONTENT PREVIEW
Air Platforms

China’s Beihang UAS readies BZK-005E long-range reconnaissance UAV for export

21 November 2018

The Beijing-based Beihang Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Technology is now seeking the first international order for its export-specific BZK-005E multirole medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV), following the successful grant of an export licence for the air vehicle earlier in September.

The BZK-005E is a modernised derivative of the indigenously developed BZK-005 platform – also known as the Changying (Long Eagle) – in widespread use across the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air, land, and sea services for long-range reconnaissance and electronic intelligence (ELINT) missions, made its public debut at the latest iteration of Airshow China in Zhuhai from 6–11 November.

The BZK-005E MALE reconnaissance UAV is based on the domestically successful BZK-005 platform in service with the PLA’s air, ground, and naval forces. An actual production-ready example was showcased at the Airshow China 2018 exhibition in Zhuhai. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)The BZK-005E MALE reconnaissance UAV is based on the domestically successful BZK-005 platform in service with the PLA’s air, ground, and naval forces. An actual production-ready example was showcased at the Airshow China 2018 exhibition in Zhuhai. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)

According to company specifications, the BZK-005E has maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,500 kg, with a length and wingspan of 10.05 m and 18 m respectively. Powered by a rear-mounted piston engine that drives a three-bladed pusher-propeller, the air vehicle can achieve a stated maximum level flight speed of 210 km/h although it typically cruises at 130–180 km/h up to its flight ceiling of 7,500 m (24,606 ft). Operational radius is understood to be in excess of 2,000 km when employing satellite communication datalinks.

Beihang UAS is quoting a flight endurance of 40 hours when the BZK-005E is in its reconnaissance configuration with a chin-mounted electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) ball turret, although the air vehicle features a 370 kg payload capacity that enables it to be reconfigured for other mission types, including all-weather intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with a chin-mounted synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system and a ventral EO/IR turret, ELINT, and communications relay.

The airframe of the BZK-005E is constructed from carbon fibre composite material, comprising a main fuselage nacelle that incorporates a dorsal satellite communications antenna fairing and side chines, swept back mid-mounted wings – featuring inset control and lift surfaces – that support twin tailbooms emanating from the trailing edges of structural pod fairings attached to the lower surface of the wings.

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