Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)
The Aisheng BZK-600 series drone is known to be in service with Chinese Army elements and actively used in its exercises.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Part of the Aisheng family of Chinese-originated drones is the BZK-006 which appears to be a further evolution of the ASN-205/207 (WZ-6) series. it is believed to have been adopted in 2009 and has been seen in regular exercises involving Chinese ground forces. The BZK-600 is part of an extensive Chinese effort to bring multiple UAV types into service covering various battlefield roles with many of these designs emerging from Chinese companies as opposed to foreign suppliers.
The design of this drone is characterized by a deep, tubular fuselage housing the avionics set, camera equipment, sensors, and engine. The engine is fitted to the rear of the aircraft and used to drive a multi-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" fashion. This leaves the nose of the aircraft completely unobstructed for optics gear. Atop the forward section of the fuselage is a dome set upon a support structure. The wing mainplanes are shoulder-mounted along the sides of the fuselage and, at each trailing edge, are thin booms extended aft. These booms each have a single vertical rudder which was joined by a shared horizontal plane (elevator). The BZK-006 has no conventional undercarriage, instead launched into the air by way of rocket-assisted catapult (typically from the rear flatbed of a Chinese Army truck). The aircraft lands on two skids fitted to the belly.
The BZK-006 is dimensionally larger than its WZ-6 progenitor, having an overall length of 4.3 meters and a height of 1.5 meters. It is specifically designed for over-battlefield use as an attack platform, designed to engage ground targets as an "Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle" (UCAV) with each wing member given twin underwing hardpoints. These serve to carry air-to-surface missiles aloft to tackle ground-based targets at-range.
The air vehicle can remain aloft for some twelve hours, giving it excellent loitering capabilities.
It is unknown how many BZK-006 units are in service as of this writing (2019). One known variant of the series is the BZK-600A model though differences between the two are also unknown.