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China has firmly established itself a leading manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with several of the world’s leading firms making their home in the People’s Republic. China’s CH-3 and CH-4 armed drones are now used by many nations, from Nigeria to Iraq. The country’s leading defence manufacturer, NORINCO, is now entering the export arena as well, with a showing of a new armed unmanned helicopter.
NORINCO unveiled its Sky Saker H300 at the International Exhibition of National Security and Resilience in Dubai. Sky Saker coaxial rotor, 100-200kg helicopter UCAV equipped with with electro-optical, infrared systems, and laser target designators. Using this equipment, the Sky Saker can assist and provide course corrections for guided missiles launched by other platforms.
The ground-based control system of the Sky Saker is expected to be capable of linking with a network of military systems for integration that would make it an ideal and invaluable asset for urban combat, counterinsurgency, and a variety of other mission types.
But the Sky Saker is not only a guiding and surveying machine. It’s armed with two missile launch tube on its sides. “Given that those missiles are “fire and forget”, they are likely a version of the HJ-10 anti-tank missiles, which already arms the Z-10 attack helicopters, or even smaller 16kg TL-2 missiles,” Popular Science reports.
China’s drones are particularly popular in the Middle East and Africa due to their relative affordability and high performance. Chinese UAVs like the CH-4 are already a staple of Middle Eastern conflicts, and the Sky Saker is likely to take its place by them.