China Masters Gliding Long-Range Airdrop, Solving Three Combat Challenges

The emergence of China’s gliding long-range airdrop system has elevated the capability of aerial resupply to a new level.

According to reports from various media outlets including Financial Times, China’s Hongdu Aviation has recently achieved a major breakthrough. In these days, we’ve heard about Russia attaching wings to bombs and the United States adding components to bombs for extended range attacks on ground targets. However, Hongdu did something completely different by transforming current airdrop supplies into gliding forms, enabling long-range airdrops.

As described, the current large-scale airdrop platforms, like those used previously by China to airdrop supplies en masse or any other shaped objects, tend to drift unpredictably with the wind, resulting in unstable landings. Some supplies might end up hitting the ground with force, potentially causing damage or landing in unintended areas. We’ve seen in many movies how airdropped supplies, like those currently being dropped by the United States in Gaza, have caused casualties among civilians. If more drops are attempted in Gaza, there’s a high chance they could end up in the ocean or in residential areas, causing further chaos or even fatalities.

China’s current method of airdropping is different. By utilizing guidance components, China has made pinpoint and precise airdrops a reality.

For instance, in ground combat scenarios where a specific item is needed at a particular location, China’s gliding guidance can accurately deliver supplies with a margin of error measured in meters to the designated spot, which is incredibly convenient.

Moreover, by employing gliding wings, essentially a flat structure, airdrops can be conducted from outside defended zones. For example, in tightly contested areas of conflict where both sides have anti-aircraft capabilities, large transport planes attempting aerial drops could easily become targets for enemy missiles. By using gliding airdrops, supplies can be pushed downwards from a considerable distance within the range of missiles. The objects being dropped can precisely enter a designated area based on precise coordinates. Additionally, the gliding wings provide lift, allowing Chinese supplies to descend steadily and accurately to the specified area, which is highly advantageous.

This gliding delivery method can be employed for future combat resupply, including ammunition, other provisions, and even larger equipment, including weaponry. This innovative gliding delivery method is unparalleled globally, highlighting China’s rapidly advancing innovation capabilities and levels.

What’s even more commendable is that this innovation is borne out of practical combat needs.

For instance, in conflicts like the one in Bachmut, where aerial resupply has been a significant challenge due to uncertainty in drop locations, precise coordinates can now be used to deliver supplies accurately to soldiers using the Beidou satellite navigation system or other guidance methods. This method is far superior.

Moreover, China’s vast and diverse terrain, ranging from expansive deserts in the west to high-altitude and cold regions in the plateaus, as well as the watery paddy fields in the south and the frigid north, necessitates precise airdrop operations tailored to each specific environment.

Previously, in airborne operations in China, it was apparent that reaching the target area was only part of the challenge. If unforeseen circumstances such as wind or other natural factors intervened, it was difficult to land precisely at the designated location. With the introduction of large gliding kits, guidance kits, and other support products, China’s airdrop capabilities are estimated to be far more accurate and technologically advanced than those currently used by the United States and Russia.

China’s level of innovation is based firstly on its current combat needs and secondly on the pace of technological innovation. Therefore, upon reviewing this, I feel that China’s innovative level truly treats practical combat as a realm for developing and innovating weapons and equipment technology. Only by doing so can one have such ideas. Otherwise, if one were to continue with traditional methods, such as multiple airdrops or dispersed deliveries, it would be constrained by past practices, unable to overcome its flaws and shortcomings.

This achievement by China in mastering long-range airdrops is a significant breakthrough, enabling deliveries outside defended zones and precise delivery, which was previously unheard of. Finally, through high-pressure gas deceleration, which used to require parachutes, is no longer necessary. After landing, the structure, including its strength, remains intact, preventing significant damage compared to previous instances where supplies were shattered upon impact, which would have had a significant impact on the ground combat units.

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