The Chinese company Tsingaero Armament showcases its JZ-550 unmanned helicopter

Nick Morris

During the International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS) “Fleet-2024” in Kronshtadt, the Chinese company Tsingaero Armament show for the first time in an international exhibition its multi-purpose rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) JZ-550

The JZ-550 is designed for reconnaissance and target designation, can carry various payloads and fly automatically in difficult weather conditions, such as moderate rain and snowfall; it can withstand wind speeds of over 24 m/s and operate at ambient temperatures from -55° to +50°C.

The Tsingaero Armament UAV has a peculiar rotor architecture, with two intermeshing counter-rotating  rotors, a solution known as synchropter that does not need a tail rotor; however a rear three-blade pushing propeller helps reaching maximum speed..

Maximum takeoff weight is 550 kg, the payload being 250 kg. The UAV footprint is 5,759 × 5,427 × 2,306 mm. It is powered by a gasoline engine, a heavy fuel engine being available as option.  The JZ-550 can reach a maximum speed of 270 km/h, cruising speed is 160 km/h; it has a flight range of 500 km or a 5 hours endurance, service ceiling being 7,500 m. The navigation system is based on a satellite system operating on different systems such as GPS, Beidou and GLONASS.

The UAV is provided with a handheld dual ground control station used to modify mission data in flight, as most operations such as take-off and landing are fully automatic, the JS-550 being also equipped with an autonomous return to the take-off spot.

The airframe is equipped with landing skids and is fitted two stub wings each one with two hardpoints to accommodate up to four airborne weapons, no specific data being provided. The optronic gimbal with day/night cameras and possibly a laser designator is installed under the forward part of the fuselage.

In 2022, the Chinese helicopter-type attack drone JZ-500, of which the JZ-550 seems a derivative, was presented at the International Aerospace Show “Airshow China” in Zhuhai.

Photo by Nick Morris