Technology

BEIJING – China has made the world’s second largest solar-powered drone and will test its performance in near-space flight this year.

The drone has a wingspan of more than 40 meters, which is wider than the wings of a Boeing 737 passenger plane.

Chief engineer of the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) drone project Shi Wen revealed that the rainbow series drone has just passed its first full-scale test flight.

Shi said that it was the second largest solar-powered drone in the world, beaten only by a model by NASA, adding that its performance index and technological capacity were among the most advanced in the world.

The drone has a capacity to fly at an extremely high altitude for a long time and its maintenance is easy and simple, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The chief engineer said such drones can usually ascend to an altitude of 20 to 30 kilometers, and cruise at a speed of 150 to 200 km per hour.

The unmanned aerial vehicle will be used mostly for airborne early warning, aerial reconnaissance, disaster monitoring, meteorological observation and communications relay, Shi said.