China’s Dark Sword Could Become World’s First Supersonic Drone

China’s mysterious “Dark Sword” combat drone could become the world’s
first supersonic unmanned aviation vehicle
, reports the website of the
country’s national broadcaster CCTV.The Dark Sword — known in Chinese as “Anjian” — made quite a stir in
2006 when a conceptual model of the unusually shaped triangular aircraft
made its debut at the Zhuhai Airshow in southern China’s Guangdong
province.

The model was subsequently exhibited at the Paris Air Show but has
disappeared from future airshows, with no official word on the
development of the UAV. Some claim the project has already been scrapped
due to insufficient funding or other reasons, while others believe the
development of the drone is now being kept secret as it is undergoing
further research and testing.

 

China's Dark Sword Drone
China’s Dark Sword Drone

Chinese aviation expert Fu Qianshao told CCTV that while he does not
know the status of the Dark Sword project, the drone could become the
world’s first supersonic UAV if it proves a success. He said he would
not be surprised if the project is still ongoing in secret as a lack of
transparency is nothing new for the aviation industry and is an approach
commonly taken by the Americans.

Fu believes even conceptual models of aircraft can reveal something
about a country’s technology and the quality of its research and
development, adding that analyzing models at Zhuhai can allow experts to
gauge the pulse of China’s aviation industry and pick up data that may
be more valuable than what the developers are leaking out to the public.

Fu said he was excited by the appearance of the US Air Force’s C-17
Globemaster III large military transport aircraft at Zhuhai
this year
because it demonstrates that China’s aviation industry has reached a
certain level.

There have been many arms manufacturers from Europe who want to
exhibit their products at Zhuhai but have been unable due to arms
embargoes, Fu said. These countries are desperate to show off their
products in the hope that China or other countries will buy them because
domestic demand alone is insufficient to sustain production, he added.

While air shows provide a platform to display new aviation products,
the most advanced weapons and core technologies of other countries
cannot be easily bought, Fu said, adding that if China wants to become
one of the world leaders in the aviation industry it must develop its
own technologies.