We have talked in-depth about how China is barreling forward with advanced unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) development—and this is just based on what the Chinese government wants us to see. Now a new photo has surfaced that appears to show a full-sized 'Dark Sword' UCAV. The concept has been talked about and shown in renderings and models for over a decade and a subscale remote controlled demonstrator was supposedly flown as well. But this is the first time evidence of a far more mature and substantive iteration of Dark Sword has been seen.
Dark Sword, which originates from Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, has a low observable (stealthy) configuration that differs drastically from more common flying-wing advanced unmanned aircraft designs. Whereas those are optimized for endurance, altitude performance, broadband low observability, and payload, Dark Sword is designed for sustained speed and agility.