FH-97 loyal wingman concept unveiled at Airshow China 2021


China Aerospace Science Technology Corp (CASTC)  unveils showcases its Feihong product line at China Airshow 2021,held in Zhuhai from September 28 to October 3, 2021. Among the Feihong product line, the FH-97, a "loyal wingman" UAV.

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FH 97 loyal wingman concept unveiled at Airshow China 2021 FH-97 mock-up showcased during Airshow China 2021 (Picture source: CASTC)


The "loyal wingman" concept envisages that UCAVs support the pilots of the fighter aircraft autonomously during combat operations. The unmanned aerial vehicles are supposed to cover a wide range of tasks in that they independently carry out aerial battles, provide close air support, take over escort tasks, for tasks in electronic warfaret hat can be used to mark targets and to perform ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) tasks. Some loyal wingman projects are actually in development, such as the XQ-58 Valkyrie by Kratos, Boeing's Airpower Teaming System (ATS) the Russian-made Okkotnik and others

It is therefore hardly surprising to see China developing its own system.

FH-97 is a medium-range high-speed UAV that can carry out detection and research, identification and tracking, accurate positioning as well as intelligent attack on critical locations and facilities. The system can  carry the smaller FH-901 drone to quickly and accurately attack enemy maneuvering targets and sensitive targets.


FH 97 loyal wingman concept unveiled at Airshow China 2021 02 FH-97 can carry the smaller FH-901 drone to quickly and accurately attack enemy maneuvering targets and sensitive targets (Picture source: CASTC)


CASTC did not provide technical details of the FH-97 concept , but it seems to be very similar to XQ-58A, which is 30 feet long, has a wingspan of 27 feet, and a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 pounds for Internal Payload Capacity of 600 pounds.


FH 97 loyal wingman concept unveiled at Airshow China 2021 03

Valkyrie weapons bay operation in flight (Picture source: Kratos Defense & Security Solutions)


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