Published On: Fri, Nov 22nd, 2013

China debuts the Ligian, their first stealth unmanned drone on its first flight

The first flight of the Chinese unmanned combat drone was conducted on Thursday according to Chinese media and photos taken from a popular Chinese military website.

Lijian, or “sharp sword” in English, aced its first test flight in southwest China, making the People’s Republic of China the fourth nation to successfully fly a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle.

Screenshots of YouTube video by JDUS2020

Screenshots of YouTube video by JDUS2020

The test flight lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to accounts on cjdby.net, a Chinese military forum, and later picked up by the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and the South China Morning Post.

Described as a delta-wing, single-engine drone, Lijian was made for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy Air Force for combat, tracking and reconnaissance, said Xu Guangyu, a former PLA major general who is now a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

“The drone, which is capable of flying undetected at high altitudes while providing high-resolution video and other intelligence, will let maritime departments keep abreast of developments in the East and South China seas and will help Beijing make accurate decisions when dealing with territorial disputes with its neighbors,” Xu said, according to South China Morning Post.

Wang Ya’nan, deputy editor-in-chief at Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told China Daily, Lijian is ideal for use at sea.

“I think the size and technological capability of the Sharp Sword make it a suitable choice for the navy if it is to select an unmanned combat platform for its aircraft carrier.”

One Chinese anti-terrorism expert said Lijian won’t be used for domestic, anti-terrorism spying.

“China’s anti-terrorism activities take place at home, so conventional methods of surveillance are sufficient,” said Li Wei, of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. “The cost of deploying a (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) is too high and not necessary.”

Screenshots of YouTube video by JDUS2020

Screenshots of YouTube video by JDUS2020

Photos: Screenshots of YouTube video by JDUS2020 (also posted by RT.com)


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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