China’s homegrown HH-100 cargo drone prepares for takeoff after successful taxi tests

China’s homegrown HH-100 drone, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, April 3, 2024. /CMG

China’s homegrown HH-100 drone, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, April 3, 2024. /CMG

A Chinese aircraft developer has achieved a significant milestone in its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program.

The HH-100 unmanned cargo aircraft, developed by Xi’an Aircraft Industry, excelled its final high-speed taxi test on April 3, during which the plane successfully performed “rotation” – lifting its nose wheel at takeoff speed.

Demonstrating stable performance and precise autonomous taxiing control, the HH-100 is now cleared for its maiden flight.

Xi’an Aircraft Industry is a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

This unique drone system combines a UAV with a dedicated ground station. The HH-100 boasts several key advantages: affordability, high cargo capacity and the distinction of being entirely built using domestically sourced components.

The HH-100 boasts impressive specifications. With a maximum takeoff weight of 2,000 kilograms, it can carry a payload of 700 kg over a distance of 520 kilometers at a cruising speed of up to 300 km per hour. The drone can operate at a maximum altitude of 5,000 meters, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. These include feeder logistics, fire suppression in forests and grasslands, fire monitoring, transportation and delivery of emergency supplies, communication relay, and even artificial rain enhancement.

Additionally, AVIC leverages a collaborative development model, partnering with internal units and private enterprises to produce crucial components.