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ISSUE 152 - January 2011
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UAV’s Again. Little tin ones?

By David Rose, Contributing Editor
San Diego, California

We all remember the ‘40’s and 50’s – right? And all the tin utensils and toys coming in from a war torn, devastated Japan.
We joked about it, we used the derogatory term “Made in Japan” when referring to inferior products. Turn them inside out and you found they had been made with Coke cans and other scrap materials.

It didn’t last long though and aided by massive economic assistance from the U.S. the industrious peoples of Japan soon rebuilt their economy as well as their society. Quality goods began arriving on our shores and taking over from our own manufacturers. The ancient Samurai culture of the Japanese people gave way to a new capitalistic society which triumphed over the destruction of their peoples and homeland.

There is another Asian culture emerging from it’s ancient heritage, burgeoning on to the twenty first century, eager to take it’s place in the modernity of advanced nations, driven not just by it’s all controlling government, but by the will of it’s massive population.

Having capitalized on a depth of culture, and profited by an industrious nature, the peoples of China have staked claim to a large segment of the markets and industries of the world. Our interests of course are in aviation, so what about our subject UAV’s ? The Chinese are not neglecting any part of aviation, and particularly UAV’s. They, as do many nations, believe air vehicles of the near future will, for the most part, be ‘Unmanned Air Vehicles’.

But for years Chinese UAV programs appeared to simply mirror U.S. models like their Tianchi copy of our own Global Hawk. They were lagging in advancements by several years when compared with the rest of the world.
Theirs were characterized as “Little Tin” UAV’s like the little tin toys from post war Japan. A year or two ago I would have been deriding their little tin UAV’s with comparisons of their inadequacies and shortcomings.

World wide development of UAV’s has to be caricaturized as intense. Large UAV programs are sucking up money from every budget. Military and civil UAV’s are appearing for every application and recent trade shows are proving China to be an eager participant in UAV development.
The latest Chinese UAV’s are far from mirror images of any nations programs.
Projects like ‘Dark Sword’, and the WZ-5 have emerged
Today, advanced, state of the art UAV’s in a variety of configurations for civil programs such as agricultural, and security are emerging from China’s research and development centers like Xian’s Northwest Polytechnic University and Nanjing Universities of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Beijing.

Continue your tour through China’s advanced UAV and Drone programs at:
By David Rose, Contributing Editor

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