China's Stealth Drone 'Sharp Sword' Could Carry over 4,000 Pounds of Bombs
China unveiled its stealthy attack drone dubbed as 'Sharp Sword' UAV that boasts of a capability of dropping over 4,000 pounds of bombs.
If flight testing of prototypes is successful, the Sharp Sword could reportedly start its operation as soon as 2019 or 2020. Initially, it is aimed to be used on reconnaissance missions and tracking foreign warships. However, as developers conduct more in-depth studies, the Sharp Sword could actually be used for combat operations against highly defended targets and aerial tanker for other drones and carrier aircraft.
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The stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is a product of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China with the help of the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group. It boasts of two internal bomb bays and could carry a payload of up to 4,400 pounds.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, known as "Lijian" in Mandarin, is 33 feet long and has a wingspan of up to 46 feet. It is equipped with a non-afterburning WS-13 turboengine with serpentine inlet to hide from enemy radar.
The Mail Online noted that the Sharp Sword, which is the first non-NATO stealthy UCAV, looks like a mini B-2 flying wing bomber. Experts also noticed its resemblance to the American X-47B, the British Taranis, and the French Neuron, according to the Popular Science.
UCAVs have a pretty much huge advantage over its manned counterparts as it could fit the same internal payload to a smaller airframe, and possess longer ranges and longer flight times.
The Sharp Sword, which first flew in November 2013, recently snatched the second place of the country's National Science and Technology Advancement Prizes.