BEIJING – China has revealed a stealth drone that that has two internal bomb bays that could carry payload of about 4,400lbs.
Dubbed ‘Sharp Sword’ and built by Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the unmanned aerial vehicle won second place in China’s National Science and Technology Advancement Prizes, and is the first non-NATO craft of its kind, according to Popular Science.
The monthly magazine said the Sharp Sword could enter service as soon as 2019-2020 for use in reconnaissance missions and for tracking foreign warships, and eventually, it could be used for combat.
THE ‘SHARP SWORD’
The 33-foot-long Sharp Sword craft has a wingspan of roughly 46 feet, and uses a non-afterburning WS-13 turbofan engine with serpentine inlet to mask it from enemy radar.
Sharp Sword first flew in November 2013, and has a similar appearance to a small B-2 flying wing bomber and the American X-47B.
And, a second, stealthier version may have begun flight tests last year, according to Popular Science.
These craft are able to pack the same amount of payload inside as a manned vehicle, but within a smaller space. They also have a longer range.
Just a few months ago, China unveiled its most powerful drone bomber, which can fly for two days without refuelling within a range of 15,000 miles.
The CH-5 unmanned aerial vehicle, China’s largest combat drone, made its first flight last year and appears to be based on the US MQ-9 reaper.
But it was been made public for the first time at a military air show in the southern city of Zhuhai.