It was on the occasion of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People's Republic of China that the military authorities presented two new generation combat drones which focused the attention of national and international observers. We already knew that the Chinese aeronautics industry had been able to develop a family of MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) and HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) combat and surveillance drones, such as the famous Wing Loong, widely exported around the world, even in Europe. But this parade was an opportunity for Beijing to make an impression with two new combat drones with an appearance and performance very different from the MALE drones, and presented as already being in service in the Chinese armed forces.
The first is identified as the 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 is derived from HAIG's Sharp Sword program, which made its first flight in 2013, and of which another derived version will equip the Chinese Type 001A aircraft carrier . 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 note that it is much smaller than the Russian S70 Okhotnik which, with 20 meters of wingspan and 20 tonnes 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 resonance phenomena of VHF-UHF waves.
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