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China developing long-range loitering munition

Janes conceptualisation of China's new AR-XX loitering munition under development. (Janes)

A Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) producer, Aerospace CH UAV Co Ltd, has announced that it is developing a new loitering munition based on the AR-series of air-to-ground missiles.

In an announcement on Weibo on 20 July, the company said the loitering munition is being developed for “super long-range” and will “deliver a number of new functions”.

Aerospace CH UAV Co Ltd is a subsidiary of the 11th Research Institute of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which developed and produces the AR-series of lightweight missiles.

The AR-series of missiles are optimised for use by UAVs. The series has four known variants in the weight range of 20, 45, 80, and 100 kg, including the reported and existingAR-3 loitering missile.

The AR-3 air-to-ground is also branded as an anti-radar loitering missile and uses a micro-turbojet engine. It is reported to have a maximum range of 100 km with 30 minutes of flight endurance. In addition, local Chinese media reported that existing AR-series weapons include the AR-10 and AR-20 loitering munitions, which have been developed as portable weapons for infantry missions (with operational ranges of 40–60 km).

Imagery of the new long-range loitering munition has not been made public. Janes assesses that Aerospace CH UAV is developing the munition (tentatively designated as AR-XX) by deriving from the existing technologies.

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