by David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
Photo(s) Credit: Want China Times
May 10, 2013
Well, we knew this was coming, at some point. Looks like the Chinese military's (PLA) got themselves a copy of the Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS and Dassault nEUROn UCAS/UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air System/Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) thanks to the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG) and Shenyang Aviation Corporation (SAC). It's called "Li Jian", which reportedly translates to either "Dark Sword" or "Sharp Sword", depending on who's article you're reading. No matter, the new "stealth drone", or, more accurately, low-observable UCAS, represents a potentially major step in stealth UAS/UAV technology, assuming it's well-designed, built and viable.
DefenseReview (DR) is curious about how much of a combat load Lijian can handle if its weaponized, and its performance capabilities versus the X-47B and nEUROn. It's interesting that China was able to beat Russia to punch on a "stealth drone" of this type, at least publicly.
China's definitely keeping our military on its toes.
Editor's Note: The accompanying photos appear to be of two different aircraft, so there may be two versions of Lijian, or the Chinese have developed two different drone aircraft.