AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) carried out the maiden flight of the TP500 freighter drone on June 18. The unmanned aircraft took off from Jingmen in Hubei province, staying in flight for about 27 minutes.
The TP500 stands out for its appearance as a manned aircraft in terms of both performance and size. The UAV is capable of carrying up to 500 kg of payload over distances of around 500 km – the maximum range is 1,800 km.
Another feature of the aircraft is the articulated tail, which allows access to the cargo compartment in a more practical way.
The maximum take-off weight of the TP500 is 1,400 kg and its structure is mostly made of composite material. The fixed landing gear suggests a low cruising speed, but the official data has not yet been revealed.
The TP500 was shown last year at a Chinese air show and is 11 meters in both length and wingspan, dimensions slightly smaller than a Cessna Caravan.
The entry into service is scheduled for 2024 and the TP500 can also be used in military missions as a reconnaissance aircraft.