Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / Equipment and armament: yesterday, today and prospect / Articles
China plunged into the Pentagon "Dark sword"
Material posted: Publication date: 08-06-2018
China has reached a new level in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) and made the first real steps to creating unparalleled in the world of supersonic stealth combat drone.

In the network appeared the first full-size photograph of the perspective UAV Dark Sword (the"Dark sword"), over which the Chinese company Shenyang Aircraft works for more than ten years. Earlier it was reported about creation only the reduced models of the new perspective of the drone.

The current picture perspective of the apparatus plunged into a real shock Western journalists and experts.

Business Insider called the new drone a "nightmare for the U.S." well-known military-analytical edition of the War Zone described it an "advanced camera that caught the Pentagon by surprise" and dedicated to the Chinese blah BLAH detailed stuff. In it, analyzing it "Dark sword", the author has made the following preliminary judgments about its combat capabilities.

First, although the photo is difficult to judge, it would be a full-size layout or the device is able to rise into the air, most likely, in reality, work on the project has gone far ahead, because "Chinese people show only what they want to see."

Secondly, the shape and configuration of the device is superior to all existing in the world, including the us drones due to a combination of supersonic speed, high maneuverability and low visibility. New drone can be used for reconnaissance and possibly for strikes.

In particular, in "Dark sword" failed to consider the presence of bezotvetnaja supersonic air intake Diverterless Supersonic Inlet (DSI), which allows reducing air resistance at high speeds and to increase the invisibility to radar apparatus of the enemy. Similar technologies are already applied in Chinese fifth generation fighter Chengdu J-20 and American F-35 Lightning II. DSI allows flight at supersonic cruising speed of up to two Mach numbers. Although, noted the author of the material, this dispels the rumors about the "Dark sword", as "hypersonic weapon", to underestimate the new Chinese drone is not worth it.

"States with the capability to build such drones strategically scaring much more than bandits-jihadists with quadcopters dropping homemade grenades," — concluded The War Zone.

Copy to a breakthrough

China began work on the creation of combat UAVS in the mid 2000-ies. To date, China produces dozens of different models of drones of different classes, like "helicopter" and "airplane" type. They can carry out tasks of reconnaissance, communications, and to defeat targets with precision weapons. According to Chinese tradition, the initially local manufacturers tried to invent some "breakthrough" technologies, and to copy advanced foreign (mainly American and Israeli) equipment. Experts note that today almost all the known world UAVs have their cheaper "twins" in China.

Beijing not only equips combat drones of domestic production forces of the people's liberation army of China, but also actively develops its export destinations. So, it was reported on the acquisition of Chinese drone, the CH-4B Cai Hong 4 ("rainbow-4"), resembling in its characteristics the American UAV MQ-1 Predator, armed forces of Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Iraq, the Chinese "rainbow" has performed combat missions against the "Islamic state" (banned in Russia). Saudi Arabia reportedly used Chinese UAVS in military operations against Houthis in Yemen, and Egypt against militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

In 2012, the Chinese developers have presented a complete sample reconnaissance and strike UAV Wing Loong ("Pterodactyl") produced by the aviation research Institute in Chengdu. Although Western experts again noted the similarity of the Chinese drone with American counterparts (MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper), in Beijing, said that the new UAV is a completely original design.

In addition, it was reported on the China tests stealth reconnaissance UAV, made by the scheme "flying wing", — "Liyan" (Sharp Sword "Sharp sword"). Its exact characteristics are unknown, but it is assumed that the drone-mounted engine Russian-origin RD-93.

Expert in the field of unmanned systems Denis Fedutinov in conversation with the correspondent also noted the significant success of Beijing in the establishment of combat UAVS.

"Previously China has already made a big step forward, moving from a previously created vehicles tactical class to the creation of units larger dimension. In particular, it was created a few systems relating to the medium-altitude UAV long duration flight (MALE), which are in some sense counterparts of U.S. Predator drones and Reaper. Some of the established systems purchased the national air force of China and some are exported quite successfully," he said.

"Obviously, the interests of Chinese developers was not limited to creating BLAH mentioned MALE class. It is known that in recent years China has also been ongoing work to create a stealth reconnaissance and strike UAVS. — said Fedutinov. — Including, in particular, BLAH, Sharp Sward, a photo of the prototype of which had also previously hit the press. As for the new BLAH Dark Sword, also belongs to this category of drones, the publication of his photo is evidence that there is some progress in the development of the topic".

Fedutinov agree with the authors of The War Zone and also believes that the appearance of UAV Dark Sword suggests that this device will have the ability to fly at supersonic speeds: "he will be more maneuverable than the camera Sharp Sword, made by the scheme "flying wing"". According to experts, the Chinese aircraft designers demonstrate a significant evolution in the development of their competencies.

"In a relatively short time have gone the way of the purchase of equipment of foreign production and the organization of licensed Assembly plants, to create your own samples. In the initial stages there have been repeated episodes of the borrowing of foreign technical decisions up to direct copy, but is now increasingly visible attempts to implement their own projects", — said Fedutinov.


Tags: China

RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security
Возрастное ограничение