China Unveils Soaring Dragon UAV, an Exercise in STEM

This full-scale drone design that is an exercise in STEM, from the materials used to the aerodynamics. A video released by the Chinese Air Force shows its WZ-7 jet-powered high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE), reconnaissance unmanned aircraft. The large drone, also known as “Soaring Dragon”, has been in Chinese Air Force service since at least 2019 according to The drone is made out of a large number of composite materials. Its radar cross-sectional area is not large, presumably less than the typical fighter target. The drone’s joined wing allows for a more rigid, less flexible wing than other configurations, with benefits said to include an increased lift-to-drag ratio and less complex flight controls than a High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) UAV with a conventional wing. The last photo shows the Global Observer HALE UAV, for comparison. Watch Soaring Dragon fly here.