Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s (AVIC) unmanned AR-500BJ helicopter recently conducted its first shipborne test flight.
The AR-500BJ is a 500 kg class shipborne unmanned helicopter developed by the Helicopter Institute of AVIC. The AVIC Helicopter Institute, together with other relevant units, began to research the feasibility of an unmanned shipborne helicopter in 2017. The following year saw development of the AR-500BJ begin, with the first land-based flight taking place in November 2020.
AVIC Helicopter Institute says that in order to overcome unfavourable factors such as small parking spaces, harsh working environments, and the complex electromagnetic environment of the unmanned helicopter, the AR-500BJ is equipped with a heavy oil engine. Additionally, several other systems, including electrical, structural, and flight control systems were also adapted.
The AR-500BJ is designed for short-range shipboard detection and emergency response missions. Since large helicopters weighing up to seven tonnes have very high take-off and landing requirements, most ships do not have the ability to carry them. Ships that do carry helicopters often have to carry less cargo due to the weight of the helicopter.
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