IDEX 2017: CATIC reveals details about Harpy-type loitering munition

01 March 2017

China's ASN-301 anti-radiation loitering munition system was displayed in model form for the first time at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi from 19 to 23 February, confirming that it is a near-copy of the Israel Aerospace Industries Harpy system that was purchased by China in the 1990s.

The model of the AVIC ASN-301 anti-radiation loitering munition displayed during IDEX. (Richard D Fisher Jr)The model of the AVIC ASN-301 anti-radiation loitering munition displayed during IDEX. (Richard D Fisher Jr)

The ASN-301 is a delta-wing aircraft with a pusher propeller that looks virtually identical to the Harpy. It is designed to fly into hostile air space and loiter until it detects a radar, at which point it homes in on the target and destroys it.

The Chinese and Israeli versions are launched from a storage container. The model displayed at IDEX had six containers loaded onto a medium-size truck. Similar truck carriers have been previously seen in images posted on Chinese websites.

China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), the sales arm of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), released information describing the ASN-301 as a "mobile anti-radiation drone system" that "can be applied in long-range attack and suppress enemy radar systems in war".

It listed the ASN-301 as having the same 135 kg weight as the Harpy, although at 2.5 m it is slightly shorter than the Israeli version (2.7 m), and has an endurance of four hours. It has a higher top speed (220 km/h versus 180 km/h for the Harpy), but its range is shorter (288 km versus 500 km).

The CATIC information stated that the ASN-301 targets radar frequencies in the 2-16 GHz range, and its radar homing device has a search range of 25 km. The system can target up to eight pre-set radar targets. Its 7,000-fragment warhead has a proximity laser fuse with a destructive range of 20 m.

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