China Could Soon Deploy ‘Unmanned Helicopters’ In Ladakh As Tensions Mount With India

With the diplomatic and military talks in progress between the high ranking officials of New Delhi and Beijing, Indian and Chinese troops have meanwhile dug up for the punishing winters ahead, beefing up the stocks and supplies for a long haul at the mountainous undemarcated border.  

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Both the militaries have been quick to harness the time to develop new tactics and conduct trials of their equipment. The PLA, keen to expand its drone fleet and utilize it in the new environment, has successfully tested the new AR-500C unmanned helicopter in Tibet.

AR-500C unmanned helicopter

The successful completion of the testing of the AR-500C would mean that the force is one step closer to its induction, it being the only UAV in PLA’s arsenal capable of taking off from an elevation of 5,000 meters and having a flight ceiling of 6,700 meters.

The drone boasts a maximum speed of 170 kilometers per hour and a maximum takeoff weight of 500 kilograms. It conducted its maiden flight in Jiangxi province in Eastern China on May 20th earlier this year and performed a series of manoeuvres displaying its unmatched capabilities.

While its main missions are reconnaissance and communication relay, but when equipped with additional devices, it can also conduct an electronic attack, target indication, fire strike, cargo delivery and nuclear radiation and chemical contamination reconnaissance, according to AVIC statement.

According to reports, the AR-500C is equipped with a powerful engine and specially designed rotors which can be able to withstand the light aerial conditions of Tibet and Ladakh.  The concept of this UAV, as with many other Chinese systems, is said to be taken from a similar American drone MQ-8 Fire Scout.

Earlier, the PLA also simulated a drill which involved hexacopters capable of carrying rations and medical equipment to its higher posts in Ladakh, which is deemed as an important addition in capabilities for logistics to reach out to posts in high areas generally unreachable by land.