January 25, 2021

Will N. Korea eye new Chinese UAV?

Recently debuted cheap aircraft could be ideal for Pyongyang's recon at border

A simple, inflatable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recently made its debut at the 2014 Tianjin International UAV and Model Exposition August 29-31 in Tianjin, China. Called the SF-1 by its creator, Chinese engineer Zhang Bingyan, it shows serious potential as a system which could be of interest to North Korea.

The SF-1 UAV has a speed of approximately 20 kilometers per hour and a flight range of 100 kilometers, as well as service ceiling (maximum altitude) of 4,000 meters, and is capable of carrying a payload – such as reconnaissance equipment – weighing up to 25 kilograms. The SF-1 is relatively cheap, at a cost of $30,000-$50,000 per unit, and, with the exception of the engine and some metal structural elements, the UAV is composed of only an inflatable composite skin.