The Chinese military-industrial complex continues to evolve at a quickening pace as its growing collection of active, and in-development, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) shows. This is embodied by such products as the Aisheng ASN-209 Medium Altitude, Medium Endurance (MAME) tactical UAV in service with the People's Liberation Army as well as the Egyptian Army. The type serves in the information-gathering role and is of a largely conventional design and arrangement. Development on the type began in 2011 under the ASN Technology Group brand label as a joint partnership with the Egypt government.
The Chinese Army uses the ASN-209 under the "Silver Eagle" name.
The ASN-209 features a central fuselage nacelle housing the avionics kit, mission package payload, powerplant, and fuel stores. The engine is fitted at the rear of the nacelle and drives a two-bladed propeller arranged in a "pusher" configuration. The main wing appendages are straight planes fitted over the nacelle with thin tailbooms extending aft and each boom holding a vertical tail fin. A horizontal plane is attached between the fins to act as the stabilizer. The aircraft is launched via catapult from the rear of a modified 6x6 wheeled transport truck. Rocket assistance aids in getting the USV airborne during launch. It is assumed that a net arrangement is used to reclaim the UAV upon its return to ground control forces.
With its MAME classification, this UAV can fulfill a variety of roles at up to medium altitude levels including target designation, ELectronic INTelligence (ELINT), target tracking, Electronic Warfare (EW), or serve in the communications relay role for accompanying ground or aerial forces. As far as is known, the ASN-209 is not an armed hunter-killer UAV. It is featured with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 700lbs, can reach speeds of 115 miles per hour, cruise at 90 miles per hour and range out 125 miles. Its mission endurance window is rated at 10 hours with an operational service ceiling of 16,400 feet.
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