The US has alleged that China is preparing to give weapons to Russia for use in the Ukraine war. In this, China’s ZT-180 drone is being counted as a major weapon. It is being told that this kamikaze drone can be used to target Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and other major civilian centres.
On February 23, Der Spiegel reported that the Chinese company Xi’an Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology was in talks with Russia’s military on the mass production of kamikaze drones.
Russia will soon get 100 units of ZT-180
This media outlet said that the Russian Defense Ministry may receive 100 units of the prototype ZT-180 drone by April this year. This drone is capable of carrying warheads up to 50 kg. However, a spokesperson for Xi’an Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology denied these reports when speaking to VICE News. He said that it has no commercial contact with Russia. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously said on February 20 that Beijing could provide Moscow with lethal weapons, which Chinese officials strongly denied.
Will be used against key targets in Ukraine
James Rogers, a war historian and adviser to NATO with drone expertise, said that China has made public few details about the ZT-180 drone. It is a one-time use suicide drone. It will be sent to hit key targets with as much accuracy as possible.
Rogers argued that having a similar range to the Iranian-made Shaheed-136 drone, this Chinese drone could be deployed to easily hit key targets within Russian territory or Ukraine, including Kyiv from neighbouring Belarus. He added that this type of drone system could be used against civilian centres such as the Ukrainian capital as well as battlefield targets.
What message does Putin want to send through the drone attack?
Rogers pointed out that it is more likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to send a very powerful political message. If Russia receives delivery of the ZT-180, the Kremlin could deploy new prototype drones in the coming months to increase political pressure.
Rogers said that reports of hitherto unseen drone sightings in Russia may also indicate that Moscow considers its current strategy to be successful. Throughout the war, the Russian military has used Iranian-made Shahid-131 and -136 drones to focus on military and civilian targets in Ukraine.
How powerful is the ZT-180 drone
The ZT-180 drone is an effective UAV made with a delta wing layout. The wing-body fusion design provides aerodynamic design for the entire aircraft. Three fuel tanks have been installed in this drone. It is designed in such a way that its radar cross-section is very less. For the strength of the propeller, tail push power has been arranged in it.
The cost of the ZT-180 drone is quite low. Its compact design is considered very convenient for transport. Apart from this, due to the delta wing, it is less able to come into the grip of the enemy’s radar.
Know the Features of the ZT-180 Drone
The ZT-180 drone is 2.8 meters long. The width of its wing is 2.6 meters. The fly speed of this drone is 43 m/s. It can fly for up to 10 hours at a time. Its range is said to be 1800 km.
It can take off with a maximum take-off weight of 170 kg, while its payload is 34 kg. This drone uses catapult-assisted take-off technology to fly.