China’s China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) was recently cleared to export its reconnaissance-attack helicopter drone system, the CR500 ‘Golden Eagle.’
The name of the international customer was not revealed nor the number of drones contracted. The customer could be from the Middle East or even Pakistan given the popularity of Chinese drones there.
The South Asian nation has recently inducted Chinese-made VT-4 battle tanks and the CR500 has been designed to work with this type of tank as a target spotter and to guide its fire.
At the IDEX 2017 show, the CR500 was shown in the role of an artillery fire guide paired with the Chinese PLZ52 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer. Interestingly the CR500 Golden Eagle was revealed at the 2018 Air Show China sporting 4 Blue Arrow 9 air-to-ground missiles on each of its side pylons highlighting its attack role.
The CR500 has co-axial mounted twin propellers and is characterized by a high load carrying ability over longer distances compared to helicopter drones of similar size having a single propeller. When not mounted with missiles, the CR500 can be used for cargo delivery.
NORINCO released information about the potential export-clearance on its Wechat account Friday, reports on state-controlled media said. The drone can conduct reconnaissance, communication relay and battle damage assessment missions. It can work as a target spotter and guide the fire of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artillery, the reports said.
The drone can carry a large payload, has a long endurance even when fully loaded, and a compact structure that can be easily stored and transported. It can also resist strong winds, carry different types of electro-optical pods and payloads, the reports added.