China’s CATIC/AVIC (Pavilion A41-42) is showing a full-scale mock-up of the U8EW rotary-wing unmanned air system (RWUAS) at the Dubai Airshow (Static S8). The type was first shown in the West in model form at the 2018 Singapore airshow. The vehicle was developed by the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI) and is manufactured by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC).
The original U-8E RWUAS design has been around for some time and spawned a series of derivatives under the “AV” series. The U8EW is an armed version and the mockup is displayed with a pair of 35-pound (16-kg) TL-2 missiles carried on outrigger pylons. The TL-2 has been fired successfully from the Wing Loong 2 fixed-wing UAS and has a range of around 3.7 miles (6 km).
With a maximum takeoff weight of 1,100 pounds, the U8EW can carry a payload of 330 pounds. A range of sensors is available, including synthetic aperture radar and signals intelligence systems. The mockup on show has an electro-optic turret for reconnaissance and targeting. As well as guided missiles, the U8EW can carry machine gun pods.
Operating completely autonomously, the U8EW has an eight-hour endurance on reconnaissance missions, a figure that drops to six hours when carrying weapons. The system can be deployed and launched in 30 minutes.