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China's Latest CH Tilt-rotor Drone Gets Domestically Developed Engine

Jul 15,2022

By Liu Xuanzun Published: Jul 04, 2022 07:39 PM

With a procurement contract signed recently, China's latest CH large tilt-rotor drone will get a domestically developed turboshaft engine, giving the aircraft advantages in terms of efficiency and reliability in transport missions, developers said on Monday.

Independently developed by the Aero Engine Corporation of China, the AES100 turboshaft engine has found its first user in the CH large tilt-rotor drone, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.

This type of drone is suitable for transport and supply delivery missions, the Global Times learned from the CH UAV company on Monday.

A tilt-rotor aircraft fuses technologies of a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft, allowing the aircraft to vertically take off and land in helicopter mode and cruise at a fast speed in fixed wing aircraft mode. The US-developed V-22 Osprey is a typical example of a tilt-rotor aircraft, observers said.

The AES100 is a 1,000 kilowatt-class, civilian-grade advanced turboshaft engine characterized by its high efficiency, long lifespan, high reliability, high power reserve and good expansibility, which makes it China's first such engine with full intellectual property that is competitive on the global market, Xinhua said.

A single AES100 engine can provide sufficient lift for a helicopter with three to four tons of takeoff weight, and two AES100s would be enough to power a helicopter with five to six tons of takeoff weight, the report said.

The development of the AES100 started in 2016, and then a helicopter equipped with two AES100s carried out the engine's first flight in July 2021, Xinhua reported, noting that the engine is still undergoing tests and being further improved in terms of lifespan, structural integrity, blade tolerances, anti-icing and fire-proofing.

The AES100 is also expected to spawn turboprop, turbofan and hybrid power variants, as the base turboshaft version will be developed into a series of engines, Xinhua said.

The CH-10 tilt-rotor drone made its public debut at Airshow China 2018 held in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, but it is not specified if the CH tilt-rotor drone to get the AES100 engine is the CH-10 or another type of aircraft. According to a computer-generated imagery of the aircraft released by Aero Engine Corporation of China on its WeChat account on Saturday, it looks different from a CH-10, observers said.

The CH-10 is a 350 kilogram-class armed reconnaissance drone that can accompany ground forces or naval ships for reconnaissance, detection, communications relay, search, target identification and relay guidance missions, according to data available at the air show.

Under this background, the í░11th Annual Avionics International Forumí▒ (AIF 2022) will be held in the city of Shanghai on August 16th to 17th, 2022, focus on breaking through the key bottlenecks such as avionics system integration, cockpit interactive display, high-speed network communication and real-time health monitoring, focus on the research and development of core key basic components such as airborne embedded operating system, protocol processing chip and DC motor bearing, and catch up with the international mainstream technology level in terms of multi-functional display, aviation lighting equipment and cockpit control panel. Promote professional simulators and full motion flight simulators and drive the development of special software such as flight control, graphics, and images. Strengthen the construction of supporting capacity of navigation aircraft and UAV airborne system, to realize the platform, series, and large-scale development of airborne system.

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