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Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword)

China (2018)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).

 Entry last updated on 11/11/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword)  
Picture of Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)
Picture of Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)

The Hongdu Lijian UCAV was photographed undertaking its maiden flight in November of 2013.

In tune with other leading military powers of the world, China has delved into the realm of the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), a remotely-piloted aircraft with weapons delivery capability, through its unveiling of the Hongdu Lijian ("Sharp Sword"). The aircraft represents China's first official foray into a jet-powered, stealth-minded Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and is believed to serve the role of technology demonstrator for a possible future combat system. The design was photographed during a taxiing run in May of 2013, officially marking its appearance in the Chinese aircraft inventory. Externally, the vehicle takes on the form of the competing (and in-development) Northrop Grumman X-47B complete with frontal air intake and tailless profile.

The Lijian exited a period of development that spanned some three years and involved both Hongdu and Shenyang aircraft makers. The end-result was a flying wing with a turbofan buried within the bulbous fuselage. The overhead profile of the aircraft is reminiscent of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and lacks any vertical fins of any kind. It is presumed that there lies an internal weapons bay for munitions. The undercarriage is fully-retractable and consists of two main single-wheeled legs and a nose leg.

As it stands, the Lijian is thought to be powered by the same Shenyang WP7 series engine as featured on the J-7 fighter series. Estimated specifications include an operational range out to 80 miles with a payload-carrying capability not exceeding 4,000lbs. The structure includes a wingspan of some 46 feet.

Since this aircraft system remains in development as of January 2014, this article will be updated as additional information becomes apparent.
Any available statistics for the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Year: 2018
Type: Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)
Manufacturer(s): Hongdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (HAIC) / Shenyang - China
Production: 1
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 0
Width: 45.93 ft (14.00 m)

Installed Power
(Assumed) 1 x Shenyang WP7 turbofan engine developing 10,000lb of thrust (estimated).

Standard Day Performance

Unknown at this time. Presumed to be precision-guided munitions held internally. Payload assumed no more than 4,500lbs.

Operators List
China (probable)

Series Model Variants
• Lijian - Base Series Name

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition

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