Aviation Safety

China Develops Bird-Like Ornithopter with Military and Civilian Applications

Main image to the post China Develops Bird-Like Ornithopter with Military and Civilian Applications

China recently introduced a new type of aircraft called the Small Falcon ornithopter, designed to fly by flapping its wings. The aircraft, which resembles the size and movements of a real bird, has been developed by a team focused on aircraft bionics at Xi'an-based Northwestern Polytechnical University. Utilizing a cone crank mechanism and patterns learned from bird flight, the Small Falcon can perform various wing movements such as folding while flapping, adjusting flapping speed, folding one wing during flight, and even locking its wings for glides.

Through advanced designs optimized by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and wind tunnel tests, the Small Falcon has achieved remarkable agility and bird-like flying capabilities. The ornithopter's unique abilities make it ideal for applications in military reconnaissance, ecological monitoring, and environment protection. Experts believe that the ornithopter's biomimetic design is so convincing that it can be difficult to distinguish it from a real bird, especially at higher altitudes. Additionally, these bird-like aircraft offer stealth advantages as they are designed for recognition camouflage rather than conventional methods focusing on electromagnetic waves, noise, and visibility. This means that observers may overlook them, assuming they are harmless birds. In terms of practical applications, ornithopters are particularly well-suited for reconnaissance, surveillance, and precision strike missions in special operations. Furthermore, in ecological monitoring and environmental protection tasks, ornithopters are less likely to disturb wildlife due to their subtle and natural appearance.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09