Cloud Shadow Appears in Dubai
China’s Avic is presenting a trio of large UAVs in its outside display at the Dubai airshow 2017, all manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft. Alongside the Wing Loong I that has been sold to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the larger Wing Loong II that was shown in the West for the first time at the Paris Air Show in June, Avic is presenting the Cloud Shadow. The appearance of the Cloud Shadow mock-up in Dubai represents the type’s debut outside China. In recent times Avic has dramatically stepped up its international marketing campaign for UAVs, in part hoping to capitalize on U.S. reluctance to sell armed air vehicles.
First shown at the Airshow China event in November 2016, the Cloud Shadow has a slightly swept wing and is powered by a WP11C engine mounted between the butterfly tails, providing a claimed maximum speed of 281 knots and cruise speed of 227 knots. Endurance is five hours and cruising altitude is 41,000 feet. With a maximum takeoff weight of 7,055 pounds (3,200 kg) the Cloud Shadow can carry an external payload of 880 pounds (400 kg). The air vehicle has four underwing hardpoints, with the capability to carry twin-rack pylons on the inboard points. An array of precision weaponry is displayed alongside the mock-up, including the YJ-9E missile.
Avic is promoting the Cloud Shadow in three basic versions. The CS-1 is the baseline imaging reconnaissance version with electro-optic turret and other sensors, while the CS-2 is an electronic reconnaissance variant with an undernose antenna fairing. The CS-3 is the armed ISR version that is represented by the mock-up on display.