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Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword)


Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)


China | 2022



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



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/22/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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. The "Sharp Sword" is one of several all-wing designs tracing its roots to the AVIC 601-S UAV project. This includes "Wind Blade", "Cloud Bow", and "Warrior Eagle".

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 tricycle 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 4,000lb. The structure includes a wingspan of some 46 feet.

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November 2013 - The Sharp Sword prototype completed a first-flight of 20 minutes duration.

September 2019 - The Sharp Sword UAV is expected to be showcased in the upcoming October National Day parade celebrations involving the Chinese armed forces, hinting that the vehicle may very well have entered operational service or is close to such a feat.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
(Assumed) 1 x Shenyang WP7 turbofan engine developing 10,000lb of thrust (estimated).
Propulsion
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
0
(UNMANNED)
Crew
45.9 ft
(14.00 m)
O/A Width
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) .
Assumed support for precision-guided drop bombs, conventional drop bombs, and air-to-air missiles / air-to-surface missiles held internally.

Payload assumed to be no more than 4,500lb.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) family line.
Lijian ("Sharp Sword") - Base Series Name.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1 Units

Contractor(s): Hongdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (HAIC) / Shenyang - China
National flag of China

[ China ]
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Production Comparison
1
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
Aviation Timeline
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1 / 2
Image of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword)
Image courtesy of Chinese internet.
2 / 2
Image of the Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword)
Image courtesy of Chinese internet.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
UNMANNED
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Hongdu Lijian (Sharp Sword) Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) appears in the following collections:
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