China Flies Large Twin-Tailed Scorpion D Cargo UAS

Scorpion D
Scorpion D cargo UAS.
Credit: Tengden

SINGAPORE—China’s Sichuan Tengdun Science and Technology Co. has performed the first flight of the Twin-Tailed Scorpion D, which it claims as the world’s first large-scale, four-engined uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).

The 18-min. test flight took place Oct. 25 from Zigong Fengming General Airport in China’s Sichuan province. Tengden—as the company is also known, and formerly as Tengoen—says the aircraft entered the runway autonomously and that the flight was “trouble-free.” 

The Scorpion D measures 10.5 m (34.4 ft.) in length with a wingspan of 20 m, height of 3.1 m and a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 4.35 tons. Its fuselage has a cargo bay of 5 m3 that can carry a maximum payload of 1.5 tons. Tengden did not provide an operational range, but the Scorpion D’s closest cousin, the TB-001 with an MTOW of 2.8 tons, has a range of 6,000 km (3,700 mi.).

The UAS can be used for logistics, aerial spraying and humanitarian missions, Tengden says. On the military front, Tengden’s UAS have been responsible for some of the People’s Liberation Army’s longest UAS missions. TB-001 Scorpion medium-altitude long-endurance UAS have been conducting hostile missions around Taiwan, flying between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyakojima and over the Pacific Ocean. 

Tengden says the Scorpion D will be exhibited at Zhuhai Airshow 2022, which begins Nov. 8.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.