Jun. 01, 2013 By Douglas Barrie - defense-unmanned.com
(Source: IISS Shangri-la Voices; posted May 29, 2013)
China's 'Sharp Sword' (excerpt)
LONDON --- If any more evidence were needed of the strides China continues to take in defence-aerospace, then the taxi-tests of what appeared a tail-less ‘stealthy’ unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) design last month certainly provided it.
Dubbed Li Jian, or Sharp Sword, the UCAV airframe was ‘allowed’ to be photographed at the Hongdu manufacturing site at Qingyunpu airfield in Nanchang during taxi trials. As of the end of May the air vehicle, reportedly designed by Shenyang and Hongdu, had yet to be flown for the first time.
Yet while it is clear China’s aerospace technology is making advances in both scale and sophistication, it has some way to go in developing the related, and no-less-important, technologies and intelligence it needs to operate its aircraft effectively and to meet its long-term defence-capability ambitions.
In the past few years, China has unveiled two indigenous combat-aircraft designs, the Chengdu J-20 and the Shenyang J-31, as well as the Xian Y-20 four-engine military airlifter. It has also continued to use the Russian Su-27 Flanker for several national programmes, including the J-15 carrier-borne strike fighter now in development, and is working on upgrades to the J-10 combat aircraft. Two combat helicopters, the Z-10 and the Z-19, have also been introduced into service. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full article, on the IISS website.