Warplanes: China Demands More Targets


January 2, 2009: China is increasing its production, and use, of target drones. The first such drone China used was the CK-1, which was a reverse engineered Russian La-17C. A 1950s design, the Chinese didn't get it working reliably until the 1970s. You could usually only use the CK-1 once, so not many were built. China could not afford the expense, even though they equipped the CK-1 to land, via a controlled crash, or descend via parachute. After repairs, it could be used again, sometimes. An improved model, the CK-2, was developed in the early 1990s, but it has rarely been shown in public. The CK-2 is supersonic and apparently used to test anti-aircraft missiles (air and ground launched.)

Older J-7 (MiG-21 clone) and J-5 (Mig-17) are often converted into drones, to test missiles. This is becoming more common as the J-7 is phased out of service. There is also the TJ-1, which is basically a cruise missile, and is used to test radars and missiles built to detect and destroy cruise missiles. The navy uses the propeller driven ASN-5 and ASN-7 drones for anti-aircraft gunnery practice.


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