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Sky Wing (Tian-Yi or Tianyi, 天翼) is a series of Chinese UAVs developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG). Three members of the Sky Wing series have been revealed by their developer, the smaller Sky Wing I or Sky Wing 1 (SW-I or SW-1) and its derivative Sky Wing 1H (SW-1H), and finally the much larger Sky Wing III or Sky Wing 3 (SW-III or SW-3). The larger Sky Wing III has been frequently, but erroreneously, referred to as Tianchi (天翅), or Xianglong (翔龙), the name of another Chinese UAV designed by Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation for similar functions. The cause of such confusion is that when Sky Wing was first revealed to the public at airshows and exhibitions at the proposal stage, no name was given and later only the SW designation was shown, and SW, the abbreviation of Sky Wing can either be translated as Tianchi or Tianyi, and Chinese military enthusiasts used Tianchi on their internet posts. However, Tianchi is not the Chinese name for Sky Wing III, because the developer finally revealed the name is actually Tianyi instead.[1]

Sky Wing I

Sky Wing I (天翼 I) is the first member of CAIG Sky Wing series, and it is a medium UAV of twin-boom layout with twin-tail configuration. Propulsion is provided by a two-blade propeller driven by a pusher engine, and it has a tricycle landing gear.[2] Specification:[3]

  • Endurance: 3 h
  • Range: 100 km
  • Payload: 20 kg
  • Max speed: 180 km/h
  • Cruise speed: 120–150 km/h
  • Ceiling: 3 km
  • Max takoff weight: 80 kg

Sky Wing 1H

Sky Wing 1H is a development of the original SW-1 that is slightly larger. The most distinct visual difference between Sky Wing 1H and its predecessor Sky Wing I is that Sky Wing 1F has winglets added (both upward and downward). In addition, the original tricycle landing gear is replaced by a pair of skids.[4] Specification:[5]

  • Endurance: 3 h
  • Range: 100 km
  • Payload: 20 kg
  • Max speed: 180 km/h
  • Cruise speed: 120 km/h
  • Ceiling: 4 km
  • Max takoff weight: 90 kg
  • Wingspan: 4.179 m
  • Height: 0.97 m
  • Fuselage length: 1.727 m
  • Overall length: 2.465 m

Sky Wing III

Sky Wing III (天翼 III, Sky Wing 3, SW III, or SW 3) is a CAIG designed high altitude, long endurance (HALE) UAV appears similar to Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, but unlike RQ-4, Sky Wing III does not have global capability and its only intended for deployment in the Asian and Pacific region.[6] Sky Wing III is equipped with a jet engine mounted on top of the fuselage between the V-shape tail wings, and it has completed its high-speed taxiing test in October 2008, and the maiden flight was expected to take place in early 2009.[6] Specification:[6][7][8]

  • Length: 8.9 m
  • Height: 3.44 m
  • Wingspan: 18.8 m
  • Weight: 7.5–9.1 t
  • Payload: 0.65–2+ t
  • Endurance: > 6 h
  • Range: 7000 km
  • Ceiling: 15 km
  • Speed: 750 km/h
  • Takeoff distance: < 1 km
  • Landing distance: < 1.2 km

See also

List of unmanned aerial vehicles of the People's Republic of China


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