BEIJING, May 12 (UPI) -- China's unmanned helicopter, the Qingdao Haili V750, successfully completed a brief test flight at Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry's factory in Shandong province.
The sleek rotary black helicopter, which has a take-off weight of 1,670 pounds, hovered for 10 minutes, performed several maneuvers and then landed safely, Chinese media said.
The "medium-sized unmanned helicopter" has a load capacity of more than 170 pounds, Xinhua News Agency said. The speed of the drone is around 100 mph and it can be remote-controlled from up to 95 miles away.
Flying time is more than 4 hours and the aircraft's maximum altitude is around 9,850 feet.
The aircraft could be used in search-and-rescue operations and in surveillance and scientific exploration, Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry Chairman Cheng Shenzong said.
WTAI is one of several companies developing the helicopter, along with Qingdao Haili Helicopters Manufacturing and China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. The V750 was unveiled in August and WTAI has said it could produce around 150 of the aircraft a year if it were to go into production.
The V750 is believed to be China's largest drone. The second largest weighs around 220 pounds, analysts said.
It also is an attempt to break the U.S. dominance of the drone market and could be aimed at military uses as well. Its lift capacity makes it suitable for carrying radar equipment.
The V750 looks as large as the Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout, whose flying distance is around only 120 miles versus the 300 miles for the V750.
However, the V750 is not in the same league as one of the largest helicopters in the world, the K-MAX transport Unmanned Arial Vehicle, made by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace and capable of carrying 1,500 pounds at an altitude of 12,000 feet.
The Qingdao Haili V750 is being developed from the American-made piston-engined Brantly B-2 light helicopter that first flew in the 1950s. The original B-2 was a pilot and passenger model, and later versions carried up to five people including the pilot.
Brantly stopped production in the early 1970s after more than 400 B-2s had been built. However, production resumed in 1976 when the Hynes company acquired the design and production rights to what became the BrantlyHynes B2 and 305.
BrantlyHynes continued low-rate manufacture of both models to the mid 1980s when it, too, stopped production. In 1989 James Kimura formed Brantly Helicopter Industries to build both B-2 and B-305 models.
By 1998 the Chinese-backed Brantly International Inc. resumed low-rate B-2 production at Vernon, Texas.