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A Closer Look At China's Divine Eagle UAV, the World's Biggest

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A Closer Look At China's Divine Eagle Drone, the World's Biggest UAV (excerpt)

(Source: Popular Science; posted July 10, 2015)

Using the single deck bus in the background as a very crude visual yardstick, the Divine Eagle is about 6 meters tall, and 15 meters long; as most HALE UAVs have a wingspan to body length ratio of 2.5:1 to 3:1, the wingspan of the Divine Eagle is likely its be 35 to 45 meters.

Since photos in May 2015 emerged of the Divine Eagle, China's giant UAV has been getting a lots of international attention. With its giant, double bodied design, carrying high performance anti-stealth radars, the drones are a potential key part of China's offensive and defensive military strategy in the coming years.

Formations of Divine Eagle UAVs are expected to provide an early warning line to detect threats to China's airspace, like cruise missiles and stealth bombers, as well as be able to take on such missions as hunting for aircraft carriers in the open waters of the Pacific.

In late June 2015, new photos emerged of the Divine Eagle prototype, allowing a clearer look at its details. The Divine Eagle has a single engine nestled between its tailfins, with a diameter of over 1 meter. This makes the engine likely to be a medium non-afterburning turbofan producing 3 to 5 tons of thrust, which in turn is usually enough to power a UAV of 12-18 tons in maximum takeoff weight.

In comparison, the largest American UAV in open service, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, uses a F-137-RR-100 turbofan engine with 3.4 tons of thrust. The Divine Eagle has a five wheel landing gear layout.

The double bodied layout was chosen in order to provide the surface area for carrying large radars, while minimizing internal volume and weight. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Popular Science website.