On September 29, China unveiled the long-range Feihong FH-97 drone, a concept that is very similar in mission and design to the US-made Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie.
The drone concept was presented on the sideline of China’s International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition which is being held at Jinwan Airport in Zhuhai, Guangdong.
Wu Wei, a representative of China Aerospace Science Technology Corp’s (CASTC) Feihong product line, said that the new drone can carry different types of weapons. The drone also has swarm and electronic warfare capabilities.
One of the weapons that can be carried by the FH-97 is the FH-901 small loitering munition, which also has swarm capabilities.
CASTC did not reveal the technical specifications of the FH-97 drone, nor say whether the concept was planned for export.
The XQ-58, which saw its first flight on 5 March 2019, was designed to act as a “loyal wingman” that is controlled by a parent aircraft to accomplish tasks such as scouting, or absorb enemy fire if attacked. China’s FH-97 will play the same role.
The US experimental drone has a range of 3,941 kilometers and a maximum speed of Mach 0.85. The drone was designed to carry guided bombs as well as small drones.
Many countries are currently racing to develop “loyal wingman” drones. Last year, Russia revealed its own concept, the Grom, which has a mission profile and a design similar to that of the XQ-58 and FH-97.