Warplanes: May 11, 2004


China has, like everyone else, been developing UAVs. The three most common models are the ASN-15, ASN-105B, and ASN-206. The ASN-15 is a mini-UAV, weighing 14.3 pounds. Like most Western mini-UAVs, it is basically a hobby type radio controlled aircraft. The Chinese apparently built it using off-the-shelf components bought in places like Hong Kong or Japan. The ASN-15 can stay in the air for 60 minutes, operate up to ten kilometers from the ground controller and transmits video to the ground station. The ASN-105B is more like the U.S. Army Hunter UAV. It weighs 374 pounds, has a payload of 88 pounds, endurance of seven hours and can operate up to 150 kilometers from the ground station. It would have to stay at an altitude of at least 6,600 feet to do this. The AN-206 is a more ambitious project, weighing up to half a ton and capable of staying in the air for 16 hours. Think of it as Predator Lite. The Chinese UAVs can use GPS or GLONASS (Russias version of GPS) for guidance and have day and night videocams and laser rangefinders on board. The Chinese actively use their UAVs for border patrol. China is also offering these systems for export, at prices lower than comparable Western models. One customer is Pakistan, which received a dozen ASN-105Bs and and ASN-206s in 2002.  China is developing more UAVs, actively trying to match or exceed American efforts. 


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