The world’s largest unmanned transport drone has been successfully launched by China.
The drone which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes was tested at Baotou test site in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
The large commercial drone Feihong-98 (FH-98) was developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology.
It was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed transport plane.
As China’s first fully domestically-built transport aircraft, the Shifei Y5B has a history of over 60 years since its first flight in 1957 and has been widely used.
According to Liu Meixuan, president of the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology, the FH-98 features simple take-off and landing, simple operation, advanced technology, at an affordable cost.
The FH-98 has a maximum takeoff weight of 5.25 tonnes, a maximum capacity of 1.5 tonnes and 15 cubic metres, a flight height of 4,500 metres, a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, and a maximum range of 1,200 kms, the report said.
China has been making advances in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
On October 9, state media reported that China will sell 48 of its Wing Loong II high-end reconnaissance and multi-role Chinese drones to its all-weather ally Pakistan.
In the meantime, the UK’s transition out of the EU could be extended by “a matter of months” to ensure no hard border in Northern Ireland, Theresa May has said.
The prime minister said this was a new idea that had emerged in negotiations and was not expected to be used.
The UK leaves the EU in March, and the current plan is for the transition period to finish at the end of 2020.
Some Tory MPs are unhappy at the idea of the UK being tied to EU rules for longer.
It comes after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels failed to make decisive progress in reaching an agreement.
Mrs May addressed her 27 European counterparts on Wednesday evening, urging them to give ground and end the current Brexit deadlock.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Mrs May said that the UK had already put forward a proposal to avoid the need for either a hard border or a customs border between Northern Ireland the rest of the UK.
She added: “A further idea that has emerged – and it is an idea at this stage – is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months – and it would only be for a matter of months.
“But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020.”
After Wednesday’s dinner, EU leaders said it was up to Mrs May to offer new ideas, and declared that insufficient progress had been made to call a special summit next month to draft a withdrawal deal.
Both sides did, though, agree to keep talking.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 – but an agreement on how this will happen is proving elusive amid differences over how to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The UK has signed up to the principle of a backstop – an insurance policy designed to prevent the need for customs checks – but the two sides cannot agree over what form the backstop will take and how long it will last.
As it stands, the transition period – in which the UK would remain in the single market and customs union – is set to last until 31 December 2020.
The UK Parliament would have to agree to any extension and some MPs are warning that Mrs May will face a rebellion if she tries to do it.