The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, or CASC, introduced a new drone design called the FH-97 that resembled Us Kratos’ XQ-58A Valkyrie. Now, the company has come up with the FH-97A.
FH-97A will be up for display at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow, which officially opens this week. The model highly resembles the Kratos XQ-58.
The basic shape of the FH-97A’s fuselage, wings, and vertical stabilizers are all different, and it has engine intakes on both sides of the fuselage instead of one on top.
FH-97A has two distinct and exposed traditional engine exhaust nozzles at the back and the exhaust arrangement might be different in future.
The nose section with its downward slant, is like that of Boeing Australia’s MQ-28.
There are multiple cameras that allow the drone to spot and track several targets from different angles. It is also immune to radio-frequency jamming.
The clear ‘inspiration,’ of the model’s design came from the Ghost Bat. It is no secret that the People’s Liberation Army is pursuing crewed-uncrewed aircraft teaming concepts.
The Ghost Bat is most probably high on the PLA radar, in general, given that the RAAF, a major prospective opponent in a high-end future conflict in the Pacific, is powering through with plans to acquire a massive collection of these drones for use in combat operations.
However, so far, the practical application of the FH-97 is still not confirmed. It is unknown how far it has come from its mockup stage. It is unclear if another model or mockup of the initial FH-97 design is on display at Zhuhai this year or not, too.
Nevertheless, the display of the FH-97A at Zhuhai this year indicates that the PLA is actively looking at an automated future with multiple aspects of capabilities that could work closely with various types of crewed aircraft. It is yet to be confirmed if the ideas will materialize or not.