The Aviation industries' Corporation of China (AVIC) has for the first time displayed an armed version of its BZK-005E drone as a scale model at the Army 2022 event in Moscow.
The high-altitude drone, also called 'Long Eagle,' is the biggest military drone in service with the Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA).
Earlier iterations of the BZK-005 have had reconnaissance payloads only. This appears to be the first time the drone has been shown with missiles- four of them mounted on underwing pylons.
While the drone itself was cleared for export a few years ago, arming it will increase it salability given the increasing usage of drones in current conflicts.
According open-source information the specifications of the BZK-005E are: BZK-005E UAV are:
Wingspan: 18m, Length: 10.05m, Max take-off Weight: 2500kg Endurance: 40h(Recon) Ceiling: 7500m, Cruising speed: 130km/h-180km/h, Max level speed: 210km/h and Max task payload: 370kg.
In comparison the MQ-9 Predator has wing span of 20 meters, Max Gross Takeoff Weight: 4763 kg and can carry a variety of weapons.
The weapons mounted on the drone model appear to be precision-attack air-to-ground missiles.
The BZK-005E seems to target markets which seek the U.S.-made MQ-9 series of armed drones such as the Predator and Avenger, at a much lower cost.
According to information previously released by its developer, Beihang UAS Technology Co., the BZK-005E has a highly autonomous flight control system and is capable of take-off and landing on plateau, the ocean and desert to accomplish all-day and all-weather task deployment.