China’s ‘Sharp Sword’ stealth UAV to make first flight one year later

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Recently the video about the taxiing test of China’s “Sharp Sword” attack unmanned aerialvehicle (UAV) was exposed. Media said that China’s “Sharp Sword” stealth attack UAVproof test has already begun and the frequent land taxiing tests indicate the preparatorywork for the first flight is underway. In an interview with CCTV reporter, military expert Du Wenlong revealed that China’s first stealth UAV will make the first flight after one yearand it is in good technical conditions at the present time.

Du Wenlong said that the completion of a fighter shall undergo three stages, including themanufacture of the whole aircraft, the land taxiing, the first flight and subsequent flighttest.
Judging from the present situation,
“Sharp Sword” has entered into the second stage. It isstill one year left before the first flight.

If the UAV succeeds in the first flight and is used for the army, it makes the Chinese AirForce own a dedicated UAV, Du said. The previous fighter means a combination of aircraftand pilot, but the pilot will possibly stand apart from aircraft in the future, hence itscombat ability will have a new growth space in comparison with the manned aircraft.

For example, in many high-risk areas, the load for life support system can be cast off, andthe combat ability can be significantly heightened. China aviation industry has made greatprogress in the manufacture of stealth fighter. Besides the existing J-20, J-31, in the fieldof the stealth UAV, it is another tremendous space for improvement. In addition, the auto-control engineering has also developed rapidly. Without the BDS, an aircraft cannot fly fareven if it only has the GPS. Therefore, with the advanced manufacturing technology, auto-control technology and macroscopic physical environment, what we see now is not only”Sharp Sword”, but the improvement of the whole aviation industry environment.

On the question whether “Sharp Sword” can be equipped on the aircraft carrier as carrier-based aircraft, Du Wenlong said, after refitting the UAV will probably make flight tests onaircraft carrier or participate in a combat in the future. In particular, judging from the basicdevelopment tendency of carrier-borne aircraft, the manned stealth fighter is usually used together with the UAV, because in the whole maritime combat environment, the aircraft carrier’s space is the most precious. The smaller UAV indicates that the aircraft carrier canaccommodate more fighters, which can greatly increase the quantity of fighters andenhance the scale of battle.

Due to the future complicated maritime combat environment, in the sea-to-land attackaction, if we know nothing about the enemy’s aerial defense system, without UAV, theattack and defense capability will be influenced. Even if we succeed in attacking, we maypay a high cost. If a lot of manned fighters are shot off by the enemy, the attack action willsuffer great losses. The combination of the manned fighter and UAV is a perfectcombination which makes each give full play to its advantages. In the future, the Chineseaircraft carrier is also expecting for this new type of UAV.