At a recent military-civilian equipment and technology expo held in Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, in 2019, a new type of flying-wing stealth transport drone, called FL-2, was exhibited for the first time. Developed by a Chinese company Zhongtian Guide Control Technology Co., Ltd., the FL-2 stealth transport drone features a hybrid of conventional and flying wing design.
Its appearance is similar to the US-built X-47B drone. It has a streamlined shape with a smooth transition and a wide body. Also, the drone has a pair of conventional V-shaped vertical tails, and its fuselage also seems bulkier than other typical flying wing aircraft such as the B-2 bomber.
The rear of the fuselage has a pair of “bat-type” swept wings. The entire trailing edge profile is w-shaped, which is identical to the shape of the US X-47B drone. The difference is that the FL-2 drone has four ailerons mounted on the swept wings and two movable rudders on the trailing edge of the fuselage. In addition, the FL-2 drone uses the V-tail design of a conventional aircraft.
The FL-2 drone uses a large thrust turbofan engine with a maximum lift-off weight of 22 tons, a ceiling of 15 kilometers, and a cruising altitude of 10 to 12 km. Besides, the drone has a cruise speed of 600 to 780 km/h, the maximum flight speed of 900 km/h, a range of 7,300 kilometers, and an endurance of 10 hours.
According to the Global Times report, the FL-2 is a long-range multipurpose high-subsonic unmanned transport platform, which has multiple cabins for carrying different types of cargo, or it can carry a single larger object. The wing-body and swept wing design can effectively reduce air resistance, which is its biggest advantage.
Currently, the FL-2 drone, with maximum load capacity is 6 tons, is in its conceptual design stage.