The same day that the U.S. Navy's X-47B stealth drone took off from an aircraft carrier, photos emerged on Chinese Internet forums that seemingly confirm that China is developing a stealthy unmanned jet, dubbed the Li Jian or Sharp Sword.
These jets are meant to replace the current crop of slow, low-flying, propeller-driven UAVs that military planners assume will be highly vulnerable in a modern conflict where one nation doesn't have absolute control over airspace.
For example, the U.S. Navy envisions these planes doing everything from aerial refueling missions to penetrating advanced air defenses to perform strike and surveillance sorties.
The only stealth drone designs we saw coming out of China were subscale models that basically amounted to remote-control airplanes. It appears that we can now add stealth drones to the military technology that China is developing to catch up with the West.
Hat tip to Alert 5.
John Reed reports on the frontiers of cyber war and the latest in military technology for Killer Apps.