skip to main content

Update – Airshow China 2022: New reusable hypersonic UAV displayed

China is developing the MD-22 hypersonic, reusable, and multimission UAV as part of the country's overall response to emerging threats. (Janes)

China has unveiled a new, reusable, and near-space hypersonic technology demonstrator. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has potential multimission applications.

Designated as the MD-22, the UAV was on display during the Airshow China 2022 exhibition, which was held at Zhuhai from 8 to 13 November. Imagery indicates that the UAV is being developed under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Two institutes appear to be involved in the development of the platform. These include the Key Laboratory of High Temperature Gas Dynamics of the Institute of Mechanics (CAS) and the Guangdong Aerospace Research Academy (GARA). A fourth entity involved in the project is an industrial science co-operation centre.

Imagery of the MD-22 shows that it features a single engine and a near- flat bottom design. The aircraft also has highly swept cropped delta wings, a V-tail, and respective trailing edge control surfaces. An engine inlet is located in a ventral position, near the rear of the airframe.

The concept model was also seen with tricycle landing gear. This indicates it is a reusable UAV. According to the company, the aircraft will take off using rocket assistance. The company added that the MD-22 will also have autonomous take-off and landing capabilities. This could likely enable the aircraft to conduct landings on conventional runways.

Janes assesses that the control surfaces will be used to provide stability and control during the rocket boost phase of air- or ground-launch operations. According to the company, the design is intended to support stable disk overload at a minimum of 6 g during manoeuvres.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...