First flight of WJ-700 Lieying (Falcon)

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WJ-700 Lieying (Falcon) high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned (combat) air system (UCAS) - Photo by CASIC

The Third Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) announced they flew their new WJ-700 Lieying (Falcon) high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned (combat) air system (UCAS) for the first time on 11 January 2021.

The maiden flight of the WJ-700 which is developed for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions that can be armed for strike missions flew for the first time from an unidentified airport in Northeast China.

More flight tests will follow in which the flight characteristics, and reconnaissance and combat capabilities will be examed. The WJ-700 will be offered to the Chinese armed forces as well as the International Arms market and is the the first and only high-altitude, high-speed, long-endurance combat/reconnaissance UAS built in China so far. The UAS was first unveiled at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow.

CASIC reports that the WJ-700 has a maximum take-off weight of 3,5 metric tons and with a flight endurance of some twenty hours. The turbo jet-powered Lieying has four underwing hardpoints to operate with anti-radiation, anti-ship missiles and land attack munition. The Falcon is also capable of taking early-warning or electronic jamming tasks and can be equipped with additional external pods to fulfill that mission. The aircraft is capable of reaching a cruise-speed of 600 kilometers per hour with a flight ceiling of 12 km (39,000 feet) and has a wingspan of some 22 meters.