When the Chinese government set up Comac in 2008 to develop the C919, it put an end to decades of hopes at Avic of building large commercial aircraft. But Avic now sees another way into that business: It hopes to develop a series of four successively larger pilotless cargo aircraft. A second line of activity in large drones is aimed at flying an operational near-space, solar-powered aircraft in 2021. This follows a decision this year to proceed with a demonstrator that has a 50-m (160-ft.) ...

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