Nov. 1 (UPI) -- China "successfully" launched a missile from an unmanned autonomous combat helicopter, with the projectile hitting a target 2.8 miles from the aircraft, according to state media.
The Global Times reported Thursday the air-to-surface missile test took place Oct. 23, and China's state-owned aviation company had developed the AV500W helicopter.
The drone was previously tested in December 2017, and the missile launch marks another important milestone, state media reported.
China News Network said the AV500W is designed to include a weapon system and has a maximum take-off weight of 1,100 pounds, Its effective payload is 385 pounds. The Chinese drone is capable of reaching over 5,000 meters in altitude, a maximum speed of 105 mph and a maximum cruising time of five hours.
The AV500W can be equipped with small laser-guided missiles, as well as machine guns. State media claimed the drone has "excellent maneuverability, camouflage and ambush capabilities."
The Chinese military could deploy the drone to accurately hit targets during counterterrorism operations and intercept drug smugglers, state media said.
China's drone exercise comes at a time when President Xi Jinping is turning his attention to tensions in the South China Sea and with Taiwan.
Xi said this week Chinese military commanders should "concentrate preparations for fighting a war," China Central Television reported.
"We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly," Xi said.
China recently completed three weather stations on disputed islands in the South China Sea.