China unveils combat drone twice as fast as model used in Russia-Ukraine war

Company representatives behind the combat drone told media at the conference that this UAV is a high-speed attack drone and can become part of the combat gear of a single soldier.

A Chinese manufacturer unveiled a new type of combat drone at a recent industrial conference in Mianyang, a city of the southwestern Sichuan Province.

The drone, whose name wasn’t revealed in media reports, is said to be capable of application including reconnaissance and strike.

Visitors to the 2o23 China Tech City UAV Industry Conference, which ran from September 26 to 27, found the drone to be about as large as a DJI Mini model.

Nonetheless, the FPV (first-person view) combat drone can fly 174 kph, twice as fast as the conventional quadcopter.

Screenshot from CCTV reports

DJI’s FPV drone has a maximum speed of 100 kph, while its Phantom 4 variant, now widely adopted by both Russian and Ukrainian troops in their confrontation, is clocked at 72 kph.

The combat drone, whose producer was not named in the media reports, has a MTOM (maximum take-off mass) of 1.8kg, giving the gadget sufficient agility in action.

Its flight endurance is 30 minutes, the reports added.

Company representatives behind the combat drone told media at the conference that this UAV is a high-speed attack drone and can become part of the combat gear of a single soldier.

It is able to perform reconnaissance missions and also carry out suicide attacks, when equipped with munitions and explosives.

The drone carries up to 500 grams of TNT explosives. It is easy to carry around and can fit into a backpack in a group of four.

Screenshot from CCTV reports

During the Russia-Ukraine war, armed forces from both sides have turned to drones of varying sizes to track objectives, gather intelligence, identify targets for ground or air artillery fire, and launch strikes against high-value targets.

Concerns about the growing use of drone in a fatal way prompted China to slap restrictions on domestic manufacturers to ship drones and accessories abroad, especially to conflict zones.

Aside from the combat drone, more than 100 UAV firms nationwide exhibited upwards of 300 of products at the conference in Sichuan, showcasing their latest technologies and applications in meteorological monitoring, geological mapping, and military industry, among others.

In 2022, China’s civilian UAV market generated more than 30 billion yuan (US$4.11 billion) in revenue from 3 million units delivered.

Over 70% of the deliveries were exports, Zhai Guochun, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, was quoted as saying at the conference.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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