Space shuttle loyal wing with an 8,000+ km range was shown

BEIJING ($1=7.24 Chinese Yuans) — The current airshow in China is being followed with interest. It is impressive that hundreds of Chinese companies present and emphasize various types and purposes of unmanned aerial vehicles. Perhaps Beijing and the Asian part of the planet give a signal about their importance in future military actions or the technological development of the world.

Space shuttle loyal wing with an 8,000+ km range was shown
Photo credit: EurAsianTimes

China is introducing new drones to the world, some of which hint at the future of the Chinese industry as a whole. The MD-22 UAV is such a case. Although according to our Asian sources, this drone will continue to evolve in design and features, the MD-22 could be the beginning of a change in space technology development.

The MD-22 has been designated as a space shuttle loyal wing of the future. Little is known about it, as even the information on its presentation brochure is scarce. But according to the manufacturer CAS Institute of Mechanics and the Guangdong Aerodynamic Research Academy [GARA], the MD-22 is a hypersonic drone. Its maximum range is 8,000 km and it has 6G stable disk overload. The latter characteristic is valid only under two conditions – low and medium speed.

The take-off weight of the drone is 4,000 kilograms, it is nearly 11 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. It develops speeds of Mach 0 to Mach 7, and its makers say it can be launched via a rocket or by itself.

It is assumed that the MD-22 will be used for scientific activity in space and technical support, or checking the status of space shuttles, ships, and stations. The Chinese manufacturers of the MD-22 do not give more information about its purpose. Anything else would be speculation at this stage. But military experts stress that, according to them, this drone could be the future technology for the development of a 6-generation combat aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

Space shuttle loyal wing with an 8,000+ km range was shown
Photo credit: Twitter

Beijing is clearly seriously developing technologies in the field of hypersonic speed. Although this drone is shrouded in mystery due to the lack of information, the very fact that it develops from 0 to Mach 7 speed suggests that the Chinese government is rapidly investing in the development of such products.

The war in Ukraine may prevent Russia from taking part in this exhibition on a larger scale. For now, there is no information that Moscow is developing such systems [we only know about hypersonic missiles], but there is information that the US is doing the same. For example, Washington has taken steps to convert Block 20 and 30 RQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft into the Skyrange initiative. This is a project to develop and test hypersonic systems.

Last but not least, the US is hard at work on the Stratolaunch Talon-A project. This is an initiative that is aimed at full analysis and evaluation of the development of hypersonic systems. The Stratolaunch Talon-A is focused on supporting research and development, including testing.

Apparently, both China and Beijing are in the initial phase of developments that will have an impact on technological development in the coming years. Perhaps China was the first to take the first step, showing the MD-22. Whether this will be Asia’s test hypersonic near-space deployment system remains to be seen.


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