It was on the occasion of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, that the military authorities presented two new generation combat drones that captured the attention of national and international observers. We already knew that the Chinese aeronautical industry had been able to develop a family of combat and surveillance drones MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) and HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance), such as the famous Wing Loong widely exported to the worldeven in Europe. But this parade was an opportunity for Pekin to make an impression with two new combat drones with an appearance and performance very different from MALE drones, and presented as being already in service in the Chinese armed forces.
The first one is identified as GJ-11 stealth attack drone, a delta wing similar to those known to the Western public through the American X47B program and the European Neuron. With a wingspan of 14 meters, it seems more than likely that the GJ-11 was derived from HAIG's Sharp Sword program, which made its first flight in 2013, and which another derivative version will equip the aircraft carrier Type 001A Chinese. Judging by its dimensions and appearance, the GJ-11 must reach a mass of 7 tons empty, and 10 to 12 tons at takeoff, a weight comparable to that of a light fighter. On the other hand, we see that it is much smaller than the Russian S70 Okhotnik which, with 20 meters wingspan and 20 tons at takeoff, visibly occupies the top of the spectrum of modern combat drones. The flying wing structure is particularly suitable for the design of stealth devices, having the particularity of being less sensitive than other current configurations to the phenomena of resonance of VHF-UHF waves.
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