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Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)


The NORINCO Sky Saker is something of a Chinese take on the American General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper attack drone.

Detailing the development and operational history of the NORINCO Sky Saker Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Chinese military industry is developing a producing a myriad of products for its massive land, sea, and air forces and this has included a large collection of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The drive in this section in multi-fold - attempting to keep pace with the United States, showcasing its technological prowess to its neighbors, and promoting a position of self-reliance in various fields. As a long time export customer of the Soviet Union, the Chinese now take in-house products from the design stage through the development phase and can handle production locally. The reliance on outside help has become, over the decades, largely about more complex individual systems such as engines.

NORINCO of China - primarily recognized for its small arms and armored vehicle manufacturing - is heading a new Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) under the "Sky Saker". The UAV no doubt is influenced by the successful General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper" line of the United States, the Reaper itself born from the unarmed Predator. Indeed, the NORINCO product certainly showcases many of the design elements of its American counterpart including the bulbous nose section, straight wing mainplanes, rear-mounted propulsion system (in a "pusher" arrangement), wholly retractable undercarriage, and outward-canted vertical tail fins. As a UCAV-class system, the Sky Saker is being developed with an ordnance-carrying capability in mind from the outset, the stores to be mounted along underwing hardpoints in the usual way. As it stands, the Sky Saker will support the carrying and launching of air-to-surface missiles as well as precision-guided drop bombs.

The Sky Saker is based on the earlier Wing Loong UAV detailed elsewhere on this site. It is intended for the export market.

Beyond the promoted attack capability will be the now-standard ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) quality consistent with many modern UAVs/UCAVs. This air vehicle will be able to take on this role alongside its attack role making it a true battlefield "hunter-killer".

Due to the early design and development stages of the NORINCO Sky Saker, this article will be updated as new information allows. Our presented performance and dimension numbers are purely estimates.


YEAR: 2019
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO) - China
LENGTH: 36.09 ft (11 m)
WIDTH: 65.62 ft (20 m)
HEIGHT: 12.47 ft (3.8 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 4,409 lb (2,000 kg)
MTOW: 9,259 lb (4,200 kg)
POWER: 1 x Conventional turboprop engine driving three-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" configuration at rear of fuselage.
SPEED: 295 mph (475 kph; 256 kts)
CEILING: 45,932 feet (14,000 m; 8.7 miles)
RANGE: 1,019 miles (1,640 km; 886 nm)
OPERATORS: China (possible); Pakistan (possible)

4 x Air-to-Surface Missile carried externally under the wings.
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Variants / Models

• Sky Saker - Base Series Deisgnation

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (295mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the NORINCO Sky Saker's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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