A Chinese-made high-tech stealth UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), which looks like a mini US B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, has recently won accolades at home and is now being hailed as a huge leap in innovation for Chinese aviation technology.
Called the Sharp Sword (Li-Jian or Lijian, 利剑), China’s attack drone is one of seven low-observable flying wings from series AVIC 601-S developed by Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute (SYADI) of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Shenyang Aerospace University.
The Sharp Sword’s current iteration has been upgraded and improved since it was first unveiled on Nov 21, 2013, when it conducted a 20-minute flight from HAIG’s airfield, PopSci reported.
The mini-bomber, which has placed second at the prestigious National Science and Technology Advancement Prizes. is jet-powered and equipped with a stealthy, non-afterburning WS-13 turbofan engine. The UCAV has two internal bomb bays with a payload of about 4,400 pounds. It measures around 33 feet long, with a 46-foot wingspan.
While its future primary assigned mission is not yet revealed, the plane’s build suggests possible missions in reconnaissance and combat.
The Sharp Sword, the first non- NATO aircraft of its kind, is China’s answer to the American X-47B, the British Taranis, and the French Neuron and is expected to be in service as early as 2019-2020.