Latest unmanned helicopter makes debut

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China's latest-concept unmanned helicopter, JY-8, made its debut on Thursday at the Second China Helicopter Exposition in the northern city of Tianjin.

The helicopter, which does not feature a tail rotor, can reach a maximum speed of 400 km per hour. It is expected to be subjected to trials in 2015, said Zhu Yinchui, an engineer with the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute.

The coaxial double-oared JY-8 adopts similar high-speed technologies as the X2, an experimental helicopter developed by U.S. aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft.

China has mastered the core technologies of unmanned helicopters, and has started serialized production, said Fang Yonghong, who is in charge of the research of unmanned helicopter technologies with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The company has developed unmanned helicopters with take-off weights up to one tonne. The one-tonne aircraft has a task load of 150 km and can reach a maximum altitude of 4,000 meters at a top speed of 220 km per hour, Fang said.

The range of low-cost and highly mobile helicopters is intended for uses ranging from communication relaying, precise positioning, to aid in emergency rescue operations, border patrol and scientific surveys.

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