After China's first stealth combat drone, the Lijian, completed its first test flight on Nov. 21, the Moscow-based "Military Parade" stated that the drone — designed jointly by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group — is in fact a copy of a Russian design.
The Lijian's 20-minute test flight was completed at an unknown test center located in southwestern China. Photos of the new drone first appeared on the Chinese military website in May this year, with the US-based Strategy Page reporting that the People's Liberation Army may have released the images to demonstrate its military muscle.
|China Lijian stealth combat drone|
China is catching up slowly with the United States and Israel in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the US-based Aviation Week said. Taking the Lijian, Wing Loong and CH-4 as examples, the report stated China is able to design and produce various types of drones including hand-launched miniature UAVs and larger long-range reconnaissance drones.
However, the Russian based "Military Parade" claims that China copied the design of Russia's Mikoyan Skat drone. It said the Lijian may employ a RD-93, the upgrade version of the Klimov RD-33 engine equipped by the Skat, as it is widely used in aircraft developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
Huang Jun, a professor at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, dismissed the accusation that China stole technology from Russia for the development of the Lijian. He said the Chinese drone may look similar to the US X47-B navy drone and Skat, but added that all of the world's flying wing UAVs are designed in that way.