China will commission “Sharp Sword,” its new stealth-drone built for the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Type 001A by the end of this year.
The drone will feature on October 1 at the National Day parade in Beijing.
“The Type 001A carrier will be equipped with reconnaissance version of the Sharp Sword drone,” a source in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was quoted as saying by SCMP on Tuesday.
The Sharp Sword is one of two drones to grow out of Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute’s AVIC 601-S stealth UAV testbed.
“In order to reduce its weight, the reconnaissance version of the Sharp Sword would not carry weapons despite having two internal bomb bays, because it needs to fit the ski-jump take-off ramp on the Type 001A. This drone’s key mission will be gathering intelligence for ship-borne missile systems, enabling the missiles to accurately hit targets that are 300 km to 400 km away,” the PLAN source explained.
The other drone that was developed from AVIC 601-S stealth UAV testbed is the Dark Sword, touted as the world’s first sixth generation aircraft at its unveiling last year.
“China has learned the technology from the US and France. The US is developing a similar drone, the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray, and France has the experimental Dassault nEUROn carrier-based UAV,” the sources said.