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China tests HH-100 cargo UAV

AVIC's new HH-100 cargo-delivery unmanned aerial vehicle is being designed for a maximum take-off weight of 2 tons. (AVIC/Janes)

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is preparing its HH-100 large cargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for flight-testing.

The UAV, which has a planned maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 2 tons, completed its high-speed automatic taxiing test at Yangchang airport in southwest China's Sichuan Province on 3 April and is being readied for its maiden flight, AVIC announced on 7 April. The programme is part of China's decade-long focus on developing unmanned logistics and cargo-transport capabilities, Janes assesses.

State-owned media said that the HH-100 prototype was fully assembled in December 2023, before being transferred to Yangchang. Taxiing tests began at the end of February 2024. The state-owned newspaper, Global Times , published a video on 7 April showing the UAV undergoing its high-speed ground trials. The UAV “demonstrated stable performance during the test”, the newspaper said.

State-owned media said the HH-100 will primarily be used for regional logistics transport roles, forest and grassland monitoring and firefighting, disaster relief, communications relay, and cloud seeding. However, the aircraft's unmanned cargo delivery is expected to have military applications.

The HH-100 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) comprises the UAV and a ground command-and-control station, according to AVIC. The aircraft has a planned payload capacity of 700 kg. The HH-100 is also meant to have a cruising speed of 300 km/h, a service ceiling of 5,000 m, and a maximum range of 520 km with a maximum payload.

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