China’s New Yilong 2 Drone as Good as US MQ-9 ReaperPosted: March 4, 2017
In an interview with China’s Science and Technology Daily on February 28, Yilong unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) chief designer Li Yidong says, “In the past, a UAV was controlled mostly by human instructions, but Yilong 2 has in the main been free from human operation. Various kinds of operation laws and methods have been written into a software system, which is the brightest advantage of Yilong 2 UAV.”
According to Li, there is only the need to input a preset instruction for Yilong 2 to complete a task. The pilot’s task is mainly supervision and control. He will not interfere unless there is something abnormal or need to change the task during the flight.
Li says that he prefers turboprop to turbojet due to its light weight, high power and low fuel consumption. That engine combined with the optimal aerodynamic shape and long wingspan lengthens the UAV’s endurance.
The stealth design of Yilong 2 UAV mainly aims at prevention of discovery by sight and sound. Yilong’s small size and quiet engine make it hard to detect by its target.
Yilong 2’s takeoff weight is 4.2 tons, can carry 480 kg weapons to remain in air for 20 hours with service ceiling of 9,000 meters and maximum speed of 370 km/hour. It is equipped with synthetic aperture radar and armed with laser-guided missiles and GPS-guided bombs. It is thus as advanced in functions and performance as US MQ-9 Reaper.
However, Li is developing a new version of Yilong to make it faster and more maneuverable and stealth with better artificial intelligence and even the learning ability to change its operation automatically when it receives an instruction to change its task during its flight.
Source: Science and Technology Daily “Chief Designer: The next-generation of Yilong UAV will be better stealth with more artificial intelligence” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)