Homegrown unmanned helicopter boosts China's maritime management

(Xinhua) 14:10, December 08, 2023

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The China-developed AR-500 unmanned helicopter has been officially listed as maritime management equipment in east China's Shandong Province, according to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

Two AR-500 unmanned helicopters were recently included in the system of maritime-management equipment for Shandong maritime authorities, greatly boosting dynamic control of water traffic and emergency response to ship accidents, said the AVIC, China's leading aircraft manufacturer.

These helicopters will carry out missions of investigation and evidence collection concerning illegal vessels in the waters of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea, and will also be tasked with search and rescue, oil spill monitoring and other missions.

Developed by the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI) under the AVIC, AR-500 is a 500 kg-class unmanned helicopter system, featuring high quality, high reliability and strong environmental adaptability.

AR-500 is capable of operating in all-weather conditions, such as moderate rain, light snow, strong wind and other meteorological challenges. It can serve missions in various environments covering plateau, desert, ocean, mountains and more, said Shi Lei, leader of the AR-500 development team of the CHRDI.

AR-500, which is newly listed in the Shandong maritime management equipment system, is an advanced unmanned helicopter serving China in this sector, according to the developer.

It is 7.33 meters long, 1.58 meters wide and 2.43 meters high. It has a maximum payload of 75 kg, a maximum remote-control distance of 150 km, a maximum endurance of 400 km, and a maximum flight speed of 150 km per hour.

As modern maritime-management equipment, unmanned helicopters will play key roles in diverse fields ranging from pollution prevention and control to emergency search and rescue operations, said the AVIC.

AR-500, a multifunctional unmanned helicopter, is fitted with multiple advanced payloads, such as a photoelectric pod equipped with an infrared thermal imaging sensor, an automatic identification system for ships, and a directional loudspeaker.

As a result, it can serve diverse missions in maritime management, including long-distance real-time video transmission, delivery of relief supplies in emergency rescue efforts, and more.

Effectively supplementing other related equipment, unmanned helicopters offer significant advantages such as vertical take-off and landing, good low-altitude performance, flexibility, low risk, and low cost, said Shi.

"Therefore, they have great prospects in enhancing emergency rescue capabilities, dynamic management of ships, and pollution monitoring, while greatly improving efficiency of rescue efforts and reducing loss of life and property," Shi added.

The AVIC is committed to developing additional effective and efficient modern aeronautical equipment to sustain the country's maritime management and emergency rescue work, said the Chinese aircraft manufacturer.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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