The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted on June 1 its first test flight with the Silver Hawk UAV in the Binhai area, targeting commucation between navy vessels at sea, writes Wendell Minnick in Defense News.
The Defense News:
According to an unconfirmed Chinese-language report, during a 3.5 hour flight test the Silver Hawk carried out a series of communications relay tests.
“This new communications relay UAV is consistent with the PLA’s overarching doctrine of informatization and its ambition to make increasing use of unmanned systems,” said Richard Fisher, senior fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center. While its capabilities are not fully known, the UAV will likely allow division or brigade commands to better ensure integrity of communications.
“This version has not been previously disclosed and has likely been developed to include more versions, such as electronics warfare and electronics intelligence,” he said.
A photograph appearing on a Chinese nongovernmental website, chinamil.com, shows what appears to be a modified ASN-209 outfitted with four upright vertical antennas on the body and the wings. The ASN-209 has direct line-of-sight (LOS) data link as well as ground-based and airborne data relay for beyond LOS missions. Produced by the ASN Technology Group in Xi’an, Shaanxi, China, the ASN-209 is a popular configuration used by other Chinese UAV programs.
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