Monday, January 5, 2015

China's Gongji GJ-1 / Wing Loong UAV In Service and Equipped With Satellite Guided Glide Bomb

At the 2014 Zhuhai Airshow, the Wing Loong or Pterodactyl Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from AVIC was again displayed. However, unlike in Zhuhai Airshow 2012, this time the display model carried the official emblems and insignia of the Chinese Air Force.

This confirms that the Wing Loong UAV has now entered service in China as the unit was pulled from service with number 76024. At the airshow, the UAV was also referred to as GJ-1 (Gongji) in contrast to the past where it was known only as the Wing Loong or Pterodactyl.

The Wing Loong / Pterodactyl / GJ-1 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV is designed for persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) thanks to its extended range and endurance. It can carry out a wide range of missions, including battle damage assessment.

Depending on mission, the GJ-1 can be equipped with various electro-optical and other surveillance equipment, including the LE-350, YY-1 and YY-12 pod. The GJ-1 can also be used for precision attack in real-time as it can carry a wide range of precision guided munitions.

Besides the Blue Arrow and FT series which have been displayed in the past, the GJ-1 was displayed with an expanded range of munitions. Most prominent of these is the FT-7 glide bomb with satellite guidance, which is similar to the GBU-39/53 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) I/II.

Similar to the SDB, the FT-7 features diamondback wings that pop out after release and then glides towards its target. Depending on release altitude, the unpowered and multi-guidance FT-7 could have a range in excess of 100 km.

Multi-functional satellite receivers are now available with support for multiple satellite navigation constellations, including the American GPS, the Russian GLONASS and the Chinese Beidou / Compass, to protect against potential disruption of any one system.

Beidou II is fully operational as of 2012, but only in the Asia Pacific region, including all of China and the surrounding areas. There are currently about 16 Beidou satellites in orbit and full worldwide coverage is now expected to be complete in 2017.

Also new is the precision guided BRM-1, which is somewhat similar to the 70 mm Direct Attack Guided Rocket from Lockheed Martin. With a diameter of 90 mm, the BRM-1 is an upgrade over traditional rockets by incorporating semi-active laser guidance.

With its relative small size, the BRM-1 can be carried in greater numbers using packs and is marketed as an alternative and compromise between unguided (cheap and dumb) rockets and larger precision guided (smart and expensive) missiles.

Credit original uploader, via Chinese Internet

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