Gongji-11 (GJ-11) Sharp Sword / Lijian
It is said that since the development of the national plan for the "UAV ground-to-ground attack platform" in 2016, the demonstration project directly funded by the Chinese Air Force in the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan" (2011-2015) led to a kind of stealth known as the "Sword" With the birth of drones, many people are thinking that Shenyang Aircraft Research Institute will usher in a new dawn and will achieve major results in its work. The Sword Stealth Unmanned Attack Vehicle was designed by the Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute of AVIC and manufactured by Hongdu Company. It is a technical reserve for the development of advanced unmanned attack in China in the future.
Sharp Sword is one of the seven iterations of the AVIC 601-S is a series of Chinese low-observable flying wing UAVs jointly developed by Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute (SYADI) of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Shenyang Aerospace University (SAU). The name 601-S derives from the names of the developers: SYADI, which is also widely known as the 601st Institute, hence 601. The letter S stands for Shenyang Aerospace University.
A total of seven different models of the AVIC 601-S have been identified as of 2013, one of the most advanced of which is Sharp Sword. Sharp Sword was jointly developed by SYADI, SAU and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG). It's one of the two models of the AVIC 601-S that advanced beyond a proof of concept design by evolving into a larger aircraft. The other model is Dark Sword, which emphasizes speed more than stealth.
The Lijian unmanned combat aircraft project was launched in 2009, and the first aircraft rolled off the assembly line on December 13, 2012, then began ground testing. The aircraft's advanced low-reflection stealth air intake was tested on the vehicle platform for more than a month in a test drive matching the engine. At about 13:00 on November 21, 2013, the Lijian unmanned combat attack aircraft successfully completed its first flight at a test flight center in Southwest China. This also marks that China has become the fourth country after the United States, France, and the United Kingdom to successfully complete the first flight of a dedicated unmanned combat aircraft.
At the end of December 2017, a photo of the Sharp Sword attack drone commemorative model launched by AVIC's internal employee welfare agency appeared on the Internet. This model has all the appearance details of the real sword. It can be seen that the final version of the tail nozzle has been invisible. In addition, the "Li Sword" drone model has the words 601 011 on it, indicating that it may have been designed by the 601 Institute of Aviation Industry, that is, the Shenyang Aircraft Research Institute. The original "Lei Sword" prototype was manufactured by Hongdu Company, so the "Lei Sword" 2.0 should continue to be developed by the company.
Its engine tail nozzle adopts a stealth design, no longer like the "Sharp Sword" prototype directly using the WS-13 engine, the tail nozzle exposed design. Analysis speculates that the new engine is a non-afterburner model developed by the company based on the turbofan-13 engine. According to the WS-13 reference prototype RD-93 related data, the intermediate state thrust is about 5.2 tons. Due to the cancellation of the afterburner and possible other improvements, the thrust may be slightly increased to about 5.4 tons.
When the model is turned over, it is seen that the "Lei Sword" 2.0 UAV has two bomb bays on the belly, with four small satellite guided glide bombs on one side, and a large satellite guided glide bomb on the other side. From the perspective of the relevant size ratios such as the landing gear tires on the aircraft, the small bomb could be about 100 kg, and the large bomb may reach 500 kg. That is to say, the bomb load of the aircraft may be 1 ton. Judging from the details of the UAV model, including the bomb bay door and skin, many parts have a zigzag design, indicating that this aircraft has radar stealth design.
The so-called "loyal wingman" is a combination of manned fifth-generation fighter jets and stealth fourth-generation drones to form combat formations. The fifth-generation aircraft can become nodes in the combat network by virtue of its powerful battlefield reconnaissance and monitoring capabilities and informatization capabilities. UAVs are the supporting force of these nodes, just like a wolf king leading a group of wolves.
The drone is believed to have strong stealth capability, enabling it to sneak deep into enemy territory and launch strikes with weapons hidden in its weapons bay on key hostile targets, military analysts said. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times that China has mastered technologies used on the drone. Judging from the drone's aerodynamic design, Wei said it is likely to have outstanding stealth capabilities and flying qualities. Military observers suggested that the GJ-11 is the final version of the Lijian, or Sharp Sword, stealth drone that made its first test flight in 2013 due to similarities. " Lei Sword" has a wingspan of about 14 meters, and adopts a flying wing tailless layout similar to that of the X47B . It has good invisibility and battlefield survivability. The fuselage of the aircraft is presumed to be made of tungsten and other composite materials. The belly magazine has been specially designed and has automatic tracking and reconnaissance functions. It has independent intellectual property rights. The "Lei Sword" UAV has realized a wing-body fusion flying wing layout, which determines that the "Lei Sword" has a very low radar reflection signal characteristic, so that it can accurately strike high-value ground targets in the depths behind the enemy.
Russia is also developing the S-70 Okhotnik, a similar flying wing stealth attack drone, while the US has made the likes of X-47B stealth drones. The tail nozzle design of the "Lei Sword" UAV initially did not use invisible treatment, but is directly exposed. In this way, the high temperature of the tail nozzle will increase the probability of being detected by the enemy's infrared sensor. If tungsten is added to the tail nozzle, since the melting point of tungsten is as high as 3410°C and can withstand high temperatures, can it be insulated from high temperatures, making the drone more invisible? Looking at the X-47B in the United States and the "Neuron" in France, the tail nozzles have adopted an invisible design.
By 2019 in addition to radar stealth, the GJ-11 UAV had also worked hard on infrared stealth. The engine nozzles were re-arranged into the fuselage instead of exposed at the rear of the fuselage, which greatly reduces the probability of detection. The tail nozzle of the Attack-11 UAV has been improved, using a sawtooth shape to reduce the reflection of radar electromagnetic waves. In addition, the tail nozzle of the UAV is also blocked to a certain extent to reduce its infrared characteristic signal. All of this makes the Attack-11 UAV capable of sustaining operations in a high-threat combat environment. It is an ideal equipment for high survivability to undertake the first round of penetration against the enemy, especially the suppression of air defense systems.
The Gongji-11 (GJ-11) or Sharp Sword stealth attack drone, capable of attacking strategic targets without being detected, was showcased at the 01 October 2019 National Day parade, indicating it is in active Chinese military service. A grand military parade was held in Beijing on 01 October 2019 to mark the People's Republic of China's 70th founding anniversary. Boasting a flying wing aerodynamic design similar to the US B-2 strategic bomber, the GJ-11 was displayed at the parade in Beijing for the first time. All weapons on display at the parade are in active service, said Major General Tan Min, Executive Deputy Director of the Military Parade Joint Command Office, at a press conference prior to the parade.
Lijian, which might become China's first unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), was expected to enter service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as early as 2020. The low-observable, tailless flying wing, which looks remarkably similar to the U.S. Navy MQ-25 Stingray UAV developed years ahead of it, began flying in 2016. Chinese media reported the lone Sharp Sword prototype (001) is doing well.
PLAAF initially envisions reconnaissance and aerial tanker missions for Sharp Sword in heavily defended areas. The UAV will then be configured for combat operations to attack heavily-defended, high-value U.S. targets with air-to-surface missiles and smart bombs. More advanced versions of Sharp Sword might even take-off and land autonomously from Chinese aircraft carriers. Others are planned as robotic wingmen to manned jet fighters.
Sharp Sword can carry a weapons payload of 2,000 kg (4,400 lbs. or two tons) in its two internal bomb bays. arp Sword is powered by a non-afterburning WS-13 turbofan engine. It has a length of about 10 meters and a wingspan of about 14 meters.
A scale model of China’s GJ-11 stealth armed reconnaissance drone was on display at the Airshow China 2021 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, from September 28 to October 3. The model had its two weapon bays open, exposing four precision ammunitions in each bay.drone is on display at the Airshow China 2021 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, from September 28 to October 3. The model has its two weapon bays open, exposing four precision ammunitions in each bay. Experts said that the drone will likely carry multiple types of precision ammunitions, including larger ones that were not on display at the air show.
According to the official model displayed by AVIC, the aircraft's maker, the GJ-11 has two weapons bays, symmetrically positioned between the drone's three landing gears. Each bay has four ammunitions which look like guided precision air-to-ground glide bombs. This was the first time details on the GJ-11's weapons bays and its payload capability have been revealed to the general public since the first public appearance of the drone at the National Day military parade on October 1, 2019 in Beijing, observers said.
In a mission, the GJ-11 can likely carry multiple types of precision ammunitions, including larger ones that were not on display at the air show. With the flying wing design similar to the US' B-2 strategic bomber, the drone has strong stealth capabilities, enabling it to sneak deep into enemy territory and launch strikes with weapons hidden in its weapons bays over key hostile targets, military analysts said when it was first revealed.
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