A very remarkable drone, the MD-22, which is said to be able to travel at supersonic speeds has been revealed.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are undoubtedly an important role in modern warfare, of which the Ukrainian battlefield is a prime example. At the air show in Zhuhai, China unveiled many advanced unmanned aircraft systems, attracting the attention of military observers. A very remarkable drone, the MD-22, which is said to be able to travel at supersonic speeds has been revealed.

Not many details have been revealed about this new Chinese military UAV. According to the description, MD-22 will have a top speed of Mach 7 (8,645 km/h). The drone will have a maximum range of 8,000 km and a payload capacity of 4,000 kg. At the same time the drone itself will have a mass of 1,000 kg.

A mockup of the drone will be demonstrated at the air show. The plane will have a length of 10.8 meters, a width of 4.5 meters, and a height of 1.6 meters. The platform was speculated to be a testbed platform for China’s hypersonic technology. Developed by the CAS Institute of Mechanics and the Guangdong Aerodynamic Research Academy, the MD-22, is believed to be a great leap as China is testing and improvising its hypersonic technology on a war footing.

 If the MD-22’s specifications were true, it would be an incredible UAV. The turboram accelerates the MD-22 to its maximum speed during takeoff, after which it switches to the scramjet for hypersonic flight. The similarities between the MD-22 and the Hongdu GJ-11 Sharp Sword stealth UAVs also highlight the aircraft’s status as a showpiece. The practicality of its ostensibly high-altitude potential is also unclear.

The MD-22 is rumoured to have 24 internal and storage pylons that can take up to 680 kilograms each, while the MQ-9 Reaper only has four hard points for weaponry. This means that the standard range of the vehicle can be expanded by installing additional fuel tanks. With a heavy payload, the Chinese-made MD-22 could theoretically travel faster than hypersonic missiles.

Like any other country, China is conducting extensive research in electronics, thermal management, and command and control as part of a technology race to develop hypersonic weapons. China’s drones are built with upgrades and new uses in mind, suggesting that the country’s leaders are already planning for or even testing a variety of applications and follow-up models.


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