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People's Daily Online

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

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 17:22, August 30, 2013

Recently the video about the taxiing test of China's "Sharp Sword" attack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was exposed. Media said that China's "Sharp Sword" stealth attack UAV proof test has already begun and the frequent land taxiing tests indicate the preparatory work 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 year and it is in good technical conditions at the present time.

Du Wenlong said that the completion of a fighter shall undergo three stages, including the manufacture of the whole aircraft, the land taxiing, the first flight and subsequent flight test.
Judging from the present situation, "Sharp Sword" has entered into the second stage. It is still 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 Air Force own a dedicated UAV, Du said. The previous fighter means a combination of aircraft and pilot, but the pilot will possibly stand apart from aircraft in the future, hence its combat 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, and the combat ability can be significantly heightened. China aviation industry has made great progress in the manufacture of stealth fighter. Besides the existing J-20, J-31, in the field of 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 far even 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 on aircraft carrier or participate in a combat in the future. In particular, judging from the basic development 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 can accommodate more fighters, which can greatly increase the quantity of fighters and enhance the scale of battle.

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

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