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KVD-002 UCAV strengthens PLAGF's airborne ISR capability

The KVD-002 UCAV is capable of supporting the PLAGF's large fleet of attack and transport helicopters. (Janes)

The People's Liberation Army Ground Force's (PLAGF's) acquisition of the new KVD-002 integrated surveillance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) has reinforced the modernisation of its airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

Since 2021 the PLAGF has focused on the acquisition of ISR or target-detection platforms such as the KVD-001 fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and HAIG Z-11WB light attack and surveillance manned helicopter, according to Janes inventory data. The PLAGF began inductions of these two platforms in 2021.

The KVD-002, which was unveiled for the first time during the 6th China Helicopter Exposition at Tianjin in September 2023, augments the capabilities of both the KVD-001 and the Z-11WB. Introductory text for the KVD-002 at the exposition described the UCAV as the PLAGF's “first integrated surveillance and combat system”. The KVD-002 has been developed to co-operate with helicopters in combat operations, the text added.

This is of relevance to the PLAGF's helicopter units. The PLAGF's aviation arm comprises 838 rotary-wing aircraft. Ninety-one per cent of the PLAGF's known helicopter strength is made up of logistics/support or attack helicopters, according to Janes data.

In its capacity as a helicopter support platform, the KVD-002 “can provide battlefield intelligence and fire support for the helicopter units, and can guide attack helicopters to their targets”, the introductory text said.

The text added that the UCAV will also be tasked with “conducting long-duration reconnaissance over a large area or specific targets, and making precision strikes against enemy units such as air-defence systems, armoured vehicles, and fortifications”.

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