WASHINGTON DC – Originally a pioneer in the development of stealthy combat drones, the US abandoned the project for political reasons. But now it is determined to recover its positions before the advances that Russia, China and even Israel made in this area, writes the Asia Times newspaper.
Drones can fulfill almost any mission of an advanced stealth fighter plane, but with a lower cost, look at the medium.
Last August, the Russian Defense Ministry published the video of the first flight of its combat drone S-70 Ojotnik (Hunter).
The Russian drone weighs about 20 tons, has a wingspan of 20 meters and is capable of reaching a speed of 1,000 km/h, the newspaper said.
In late September, Russia also shared a video of the Ojotnik flying alongside a Su-57 fighter plane. The drone interacts with the fighter to designate and destroy targets.
“The Russians seem to be using the Su-57 and their active electronic scanning radar to choose the target or targets for the drone, thus reducing the cost of sensors for the drone. It is practical for a single fighter plane to control many drones at the same time and that stays very far of the reach of the enemy airplanes,” emphasized the means.
The Asian country presented its stealth drone Sharp Sword GJ-11 Lijian in the 70th anniversary parade of the People’s Republic, which was held on October 1.
The drone of the parade is different from the one that appeared previously in the tests, the newspaper notes and recommends skeptically considering China’s claims that all weapons presented in the parade are in service.
At least so far, except for some grainy photos of the GJ-11 that differs greatly from what is shown in the parade, China has not presented any convincing evidence that its drone is operational, says Asia Times.
Meanwhile, Israel has a quasi drone called Harop. Technically it is a munition that roams the battlefield, but if its mission is aborted for any reason, the Harop can return to the base. Otherwise, it is designed to hit the target.
It has a range of six hours and a small warhead of 23 kg, but it is precise, observe the medium.
The newspaper notes that the Russians and the Chinese took as their base for their drones the X-47B and perhaps the X-45A Americans, but the US abandoned both programs because the country’s Air Force believed that they would compete with the sales of the poaching F- 35 For the same reason, the US Navy suspended the X-47B project.
Now, in 2019, significantly behind its competitors, the US Air Force seems to be trying to revive the combat drones with XQ-58 Valkyrie that made its first test flight in March, he says.
The Valkyrie, which will include artificial intelligence developments, is part of the American Skyborg program that seeks to connect advanced fighter planes with drones.
According to the newspaper, there are two reasons why the US has finally opted for the development of combat drones and both are economic.
As adversaries develop advanced sensors that can track the F-35 (recently demonstrated in Germany), the utility of the F-35 as a deep penetration weapon is reduced to an important adversary. On the other hand, a drone, especially if it is stealthy, can carry out the same penetration mission at a lower price and without the risk of losing a valuable pilot or a 100 million dollar plane, analyzes the medium.
On the other hand, poachers are not only expensive, but once lost they cannot be replaced within an acceptable period of time in a modern combat scenario.
However, it is still unclear whether the US Congress will approve the development project of the stealth fighter drone, the newspaper concludes.