China is going at drones as well! This morning has seen the maiden flight of the first Chinese stealth drone. The first Chinese stealth unmanned combat drone conducted a successful maiden flight according to accounts by Chinese media and photos taken from a popular Chinese military website. Lijian, or “sharp sword” in English, aced its first test flight in southwest China, making the People’s Republic of China the fourth nation to successfully fly a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle. The test flight lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to accounts on cjdby.net, a Chinese military forum, and later picked up by the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and the South China Morning Post.

Declassified CIA documents finally acknowledges area 51.Groom Lake finally exists and is recognized. This has been one of the most and longest US national security denials. The revelation has come to light thanks to a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (GWU). Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, was only publicly acknowledged by the CIA in July of this year. By that time it had already become the nation’s worst-kept secret. Yet the not-so-secret base did a pretty good job covering up its actual day-to-day operations which led to wild conspiracy theories and rumors about what actually happened there. For the public imagination, Area 51 was an ultra-secret facility that tested alien technology from recovered UFOs. Some stories even claimed alien bodies, or live aliens were housed there and interacted with government agents. Area 51 became a staple of science fiction. As early as the 1950s, the site was used to test advanced aircraft technology, particularly reconnaissance and stealth technology. Today, the past product of the work at Area 51 is mostly public knowledge. The U2 and SR-71 spy planes, which warranted great secrecy until the 1980s, are now retired. Incidentally, those aircraft flew so high, and the SR-71 so fast, that they prompted many UFO sightings in the Western U.S. Reports of high flying, fast moving UFOs were actually spy planes flying much higher and faster than the public thought possible at the time. It didn’t help that their shapes were unconventional too. Stealth technology, which became public only in the late 1980s, was pioneered there. Today, stealth is becoming commonplace and three decades behind Area 51, nations such as China and Russia are finally developing their own stealth aircraft. More than 60 declassified documents in an Area 51 file were posted on the Internet by the National Security Archive late last month, compiled and edited by archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson. The archive is located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A number of documents focus on the quest to develop stealth capability in aircraft. Others report on another type of activity at Area 51 — the exploitation of covertly acquired Soviet MiG fighter jets. So Area 51 has been for development, testing, and benchmarking.

area 51

What is VSTOL ?

This strange acronym stands for Vertical and/or Short Take-Off and Landing aircraft. It actually describes a system whereby the aircraft is designed to take-off and land on very short runways, and air strips. The technology has been developed in the 1950s, and pushed today to aircrafts capable of hovering to take off and land. Helicopters are not considered under the V/STOL classification as the classification is only used for airplanes, aircraft that achieve lift in forward flight by planing the air, thereby achieving speed and fuel efficiency that is typically greater than helicopters are capable of. Most V/STOL aircraft types were experiments or outright failures from the 1950s to 1970s. V/STOL aircraft types that have been produced in large numbers include the Harrier, Yak-38 Forger and V-22 Osprey. V/STOL was developed to allow fast jets to be operated from clearings in forests, from very short runways, and from small aircraft carriers that would previously only have been able to carry helicopters. The main advantage of V/STOL aircraft is closer basing to the enemy, which reduces response time and tanker support requirements. In the case of the Falklands War, it also permitted high performance fighter air cover and ground attack without a large aircraft carrier equipped with a catapult. A rolling takeoff, sometimes with a ramp (ski-jump), reduces the amount of thrust required to lift an aircraft from the ground (compared with vertical takeoff), and hence increases the payload and range that can be achieved for a given thrust. For instance, the Harrier is incapable of taking off vertically with a full weapons and fuel load. Hence V/STOL aircraft generally use a runway if it is available. I.e. short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) or conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) operation is preferred to VTOL operation.

Check out the latest F-35 jet fighter landing on the aircraft carrier and demonstrating perfectly what a VSTOL aircraft is.