The ASN-104 and ASN-105 UAV were developed in the 1980s by Xi'an ASN Technology Group Company, and was revealed by China Aviation Technology Import and Export Co. (CATIC) in the 1990s for export market. Both of these UAVs are also in service with the PLA for tactical reconnaissance, day/night surveillance, border patrol, artillery spotting, and aerial photography and prospecting.
Both UAVs are capable of transmitting imagery data to the ground station in real-time. The ASN-104 has a maximum remote-control distance of 60km, while the ASN-105’s maximum remote-control distance is 100km. The ASN-104 made its maiden flight in February 1982, and received its design certificate in December 1983. The ASN-105 first flew in the mid-1980s.
Each system has six UAVs and the ground station, which comprises a command & control vehicle, a mobile control vehicle, a mobile photo processing vehicle, and a mobile television image processing vehicle. The UAV is launched by rocket boosters, and recovered by parachute. The UAV is fitted with an under-fuselage impact absorbing device to minimise the damage caused during recovering.
The ASN-104 has high-mounted wings, slightly tapered from roots to tips. The ASN-105’s wings are high-mounted, straight to the midsection, and tapered from mid-wing to tips. The engine is a single, prop-driven engine in the nose section. The fuselage is round and tapers to front and rear, with fixed landing pads. The tail flats are high-mounted on the body and equally tapered. The fin is equally tapered.
The basic variant of the UAV is fitted with an aerial photographic camera and a television imaging system. The imagery intelligence can be transmitted to the ground station in real-time, or stored in data storage devices. In a typical mission, the photographic camera can cover an area of up to 1,700 square kilometres. The size of the photo is 18cm X 18cm. Later variants could carry night vision devices and CCD cameras.
The ground station of the ASN-104 include the radio tracking system, radio remote-control system, radio positioning and television image processing equipment. Each control station has two crewmembers: a navigator/commander and a UAV controller. If necessary, the radio tracking and remote-controlling systems can be disintegrated from the command and control vehicle and become man-portable. The aerial photographic photos and television images are processed in the mobile photo processing vehicle (dark room) and the mobile television image processing vehicle respectively.
The ASN-105 has an integrated radio tracking/remote-controlling system which can perform the tracking and controlling of the UAVs. The system is fully computerised. The UAV can fly according to the pre-programmed autopilot, and can be switched into remote-controlling mode at any stage of the flight. The system can be assisted by a tripod-mounted signal relay system, which can be carried by crewmembers in the mountain regions to receive and re-send the image signals.
The ground control station of the ASN-105
The ASN-104/105 is powered by a HS-510 four cylinder dual ignition air cooled piston engine with a power rating of 22kw. The engine uses ordinary automobile fuel.