China has been unveiling a lot of new weaponry lately, but one of their latest reveals looks really, well, out of this world.
Called the “Super Great White Shark” by Chinese media, the aircraft conjures up images of 1950s sci-fi movies more than 21st century technology. But China says the “armed helicopter” was designed for the “future digital information battlefield.”
State-tabloid the Global Times published an image gallery of the aircraft, calling it a fusion of modern, proven helicopter designs — such as the American AH-64 Apache and CH-53 Sea Stallion as well as the Russian Ka-52 and Mi-26 copters. It also has the blended-wing design employed by stealth aircraft, including the US B-2 bomber.
The Super Great White Shark is 7.6 meters (25 feet) long, almost three meters (10 feet) high and has room on board for two crew. Schematic drawings show its outer shell covers rotors and engines, which would presumably give the helicopter stealth capability because any sharp angles would be covered, making it harder for radar to detect.
The prototype was displayed last week at the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin. It was a static display only. The aircraft is landbound — at least for now.
If it does make it to the test flight stage, it wouldn’t be the first UFO-inspired helicopter to get off the ground.
In the 1950s, the Canadian company A.V. Roe (Avro) Aircraft developed a similar looking piece of equipment, which was eventually built and tested by the US military.
Flight tests showed the VZ-9 Avrocar became unstable when it go more than one meter (three feet) off the ground, and it could only reach a speed of 56 kilometers per hours (35 miles per hour) — slower than most maximum speed limits on US roads.
Of course, technology has come a long way since 1961, when the US military scrapped the Avrocar project. And China has put itself at the forefront of developing new military technologies in recent years.
So it’s worth keeping an eye on the Super Great White Shark.