China’s new UFO-like Helicopter Dubbed ‘Super Great White Shark’ has been unveiled at an airshow in China.
A futuristic-looking helicopter prototype has attracted an enormous amount of attention just by sitting on the ground at the airshow in Tianjin, China.
The ‘Super Great White Shark’ looks like a flying saucer – or a robot vacuum.
The rotorcraft concept is about to go on display at the fifth China Helicopter Exposition, which formally opens in Tianjin, China on Oct. 10, 2019. The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has its main industrial base of operations for helicopter development and production in Tianjin. It’s not clear which of AVIC’s helicopter-producing divisions may be responsible for the development of the Super Great White Shark.
Twitter: May I ask a favor, please? Translate that poster for me. Thank you. https://t.co/bop2cMSkJL
— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) October 9, 2019
The Super Great White Shark model has two sets of air intakes and exhausts positioned laterally for what would likely be jet engines providing forward thrust. They might also supply power in some fashion to drive the main lift fan in the vertical takeoff and landing mode.
— Rebecca Rambar (@RebeccaRambar) October 10, 2019
A crude translation of the placard next to the Super Great White Shark reads as follows:
“[The] Super Great White Shark armed helicopter is a composite wing-body fusion high-speed helicopter configuration designed for the future digital information battlefield. In the initial stage of its design, it refers to the international excellent and mature helicopter design technologies, such as AH-64 Apache, CH-53 Sea Stallion, and Russian Ka-52, Mi-26. While absorbing their respective advantages, it adopts the internationally popular wing-body fusion (BWB) [blended wing body] design and the former. A new type of high-speed helicopter with [a] conceptual design of propeller blades has been successfully applied in helicopter design.”
All of the images and video from Tianjin show the prototype sitting on the ground, rather than in flight. If it actually takes to the skies, this would mean that Chinese helicopter designers have finally solved the challenge of making a functioning rotorcraft – something that has baffled Western inventors since the Second World War.
The most famous of these experiments has to be the VZ-9 Avrocar, the “flying saucer” developed by Avro Canada in 1958 as a secret weapon for the Cold War. It never overcame the thrust and stability problems, however, and was canceled in 1961.
As for the ‘Super Great White Shark,’ some social media users have already noted that it resembles the Roomba family of robotic vacuum cleaners far more than the deep-sea predator it was named after.