They are also cheaper and far more expendable than manned aircraft. If you are sending in a strike force against tough defences, then stealthy drones have all the advantages.
This combination makes the CH-7 a potent weapon against Western forces.
It can use its stealth for reconnaissance, finding, identifying and tracking targets including naval vessels. It also carries weapons.
"The CH-7 also has internal weapons bays, so it is capable of launching weapons, like anti-radiation missiles, air-to-ground or anti-ship missiles and long-distance precision-guided bombs," Shi Wen, the chief engineer on the CH-7 told China’s Global Times newspaper at the drone’s unveiling.
Others have planned similar drones. The UK has its own stealth strike drone program, the Taranis developed by BAE Systems, but this is just a technology demonstrator and there are no plans for an operational version.
There is also a European collaborative project, nEURon, being developed by Dassault, but again this is a demonstrator rather than a prototype.
The US, the big spender in military aircraft, used to have a lead in this area.
The CH-7 looks suspiciously like a copy of the American X-47 prototype which flew in 2011. But replacing their human Top Gun pilots with drones was a step too far for the US Navy. The X-47 was discontinued in favour of an unmanned tanker drone, the MQ-25 Stingray.
Analysis of its landing gear suggests that the CH-7 is designed for carrier operations. China has a single aircraft carrier, being used to gain experience of flight operations, and is currently constructing another four.
With the CH-7, the Chinese will gain the ability to launch waves of stealthy attack aircraft in operations on the disputed South China Sea.
The CH-7 is not likely to be fielded immediately and will have another one or two years of flight testing.
But it shows that China has the capability to build advanced stealth drones, which would have a clear role in their long-term strategic plans.