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Recently, the world’s largest commercial drone, the Feihong-98 (FH-98), was successfully tested by China.

The drone is said to carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes (1,360kg), and was developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology and Chinese delivery company SF Express. The test flight took place in Baotou test site in Northern China.

The FH-98, developed from China’s Yun-5B aircraft, has a maximum take-off weight of 5.25 tonnes (4,762kg), with the drone capable of reaching a flying altitude of 4,500m and a cruising speed of 180km/h, and has a maximum range of 1,200km.

Y-5B aircrafts are considered one of the most suitable models to be used as cargo carriers due to their ability to take off with minimal running distance, large load capacity and a high performance-cost ratio.

The aircraft had reportedly been developed through upgrading the technologies in China’s aviation sector, such as flight control, observation and control systems, as well as sensory and transmission technology.

“The aircraft is easy to take off, land and operate. It is equipped with advanced technologies and is reliable in flight. It has an affordable cost. It is an important carrier that features military and civilian integration and will later come to play a bigger role in the military and civilian sectors,” says Liu Meixuan, president of the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology.

SF Express plans to deploy the Feihong-98 to “better accommodate not only major, but other minor aerial delivery courses” and to “strengthen its advantage of having an enhanced integration between its land and ground delivery coverage, and information web.”

According to the its manufacturer, the unmanned transport drone finished its first test flight in August, and later received an operation approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, according to eandt.theiet.org.