New ultrafast helicopters might be ready by 2025

New ultrafast helicopters might be ready by 2025
Helicopters fly in formation above a construction site in Beijing, China, June 12, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

China should produce prototypes of its two ultrafast helicopters within the next decade, the country's chief helicopter designer said.

"The development of advanced, new-concept helicopters has been included in national aviation industry plans and related experiments such as the wind tunnel tests are underway," said Wu Ximing, chief helicopter designer at Aviation Industry Corp of China.

"We expect to produce some proof-of-concept prototypes within the coming four to five years to examine their design and to conduct some test flights," he said. "Then we plan to make production prototypes before 2025."

Aviation Industry Corp of China debuted models of several new-concept helicopters at the Second China Helicopter Expo in September 2013. Among the exhibits were the Blue Whale tilt rotor aircraft and the unmanned Jueying-8 helicopter. Both are still being developed by the company's Helicopter Research and Development Institute.

The Blue Whale's edge will be its ultrafast speed-700 kilometers per hour, which is twice the top speed of most current helicopters.

The Jueying-8 will be an unmanned, high-speed helicopter. Designers hope its shuttle-shaped structure will enable it to achieve a maximum speed of 400 km/h. The unique design will also make the helicopter less detectable by radar.

Wu Peixin, an editor at Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the projects show China has expertise in the development of composite materials, aerodynamics and helicopter engines.

Song Zhongping, a military affairs commentator, told Qianjiang Evening News of Zhejiang province that ultrafast helicopters will have huge potential in counterterrorism and anti-submarine tasks and maritime search and rescue. Their high speed will be helpful for them to evade anti-aircraft weapons, he added.

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