China's large civil unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Wing Loong-2H has been deployed to support emergency communications after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern Sichuan Province on Monday, according to the UAV's developer.
The Wing Loong-2H was sent to conduct the mission after the quake jolted Sichuan's Luding County at 12:52 p.m. Monday, leading to casualties and damage to buildings and roads.
The large UAV flew into the pre-set mission area at 6:44 p.m. Monday and started to provide survey and emergency communication support, said the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country's leading planemaker.
It helped establish an airborne communication network and sent real-time images of the quake-hit areas, supporting relief work and ensuring effective rescue operations.
The Wing Loong-2H features multiple attributes such as long range, long endurance, high payload and strong environmental adaptability, thus making it possible to serve diverse missions in extreme disaster-hit regions where traffic, power supply and network communications are disrupted, according to the AVIC.
A total of 66 people have died as a result of the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Luding and neighboring regions on Monday. Fifteen people were missing and 253 were injured, local authorities said Tuesday.
Sichuan has activated the highest level of emergency response for the earthquake.
Based on the Wing Loong-2 unmanned aircraft system, the AVIC developed the Wing Loong-2H to specifically serve emergency relief and rescue needs by carrying out missions such as disaster survey, emergency communication support and supplies delivery.
The Wing Loong-2H had already carried out various relief missions and was gradually integrated into the emergency rescue system, helping enhance the country's emergency rescue capabilities, said the AVIC.
Prior to the latest application, diverse models of Wing Loong large civil UAVs had shown their capabilities and adaptabilities in serving various missions such as telecommunications restoration, marine meteorological observation, and ecological protection, among others.