SHANGHAI, March 9 (Reuters) - China tested a domestically-produced drone aircraft designed to disperse smog on Saturday, official media reported, in an important step for the country's domestic aviation industry.
At the opening of an annual parliament meeting last week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that China will "declare war on pollution."
Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet state standards. The environment has emerged as one of Beijing's key priorities amid growing public disquiet about urban smog, dwindling and polluted water supplies and the widespread industrial contamination of farmland.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, produced by a subsidiary of state-owned aviation giant Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), disperses fog and smog by releasing a chemical catalyst, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.
Compared to other methods for spreading catalysts, the use of drones will reduce risks and cut costs, Xinhua reported.
"Even in thick fog the UAV could fly an accurate route," Xinhua quoted engineer Guo Haijun as saying.
The "parafoil" plane, so called because it features a gliding parachute, can carry three times the cargo weight of common planes and could be used to conduct agricultural seeding, emergency rescue and other tasks, Xinhua previously quoted AVIC CEO Ma Yongsheng as saying.
State-owned AVIC is the unlisted parent company of Shenzhen-listed AVIC Aircraft Industry Corp of China . The test occurred at an airport in central China's Hubei province. (Reporting by Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Michael Perry)