Harpy Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


Date:2010-02-17 Source:internet By:globalmil Viewed:


PLA acquired an unknown number of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Harpy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in 1994. The deal was not revealed until late 2004, when Washington was reported to have pressured the Israeli government to ‘roll back’ its defence relations with China. According to the reports, the U.S. intelligence spotted the PLA deploying Harpy UAV in its joint exercise held near the Taiwan Strait in 2004.


The Harpy is a unique weapon system with features of both UAV and cruise missile. The system is designed to detect, attack and destroy enemy radar. Launched from ground vehicle or surface ship far away from the battle zone, the UAV flies autonomously to the patrol area. The UAV’s radar seeker constantly search for hostile radar signal. Once the enemy radar is detected, the system can automatically compare the signal with its database and prioritise the threat of the target. Once the enemy radar is verified, the UAV make a near vertical dive to the target and destroy it with its high explosive warhead. The warhead is set to detonate just above the target to maximise the damage. The smart UAV can also abort the attack and continue loitering if enemy radar signal disappears during the attack.


PLA Harpy launcher mounted on a 6X6 truck (Chinese Internet) .PLA无人机发射装置安装在一辆6X6卡车上(中国英特网)

The PLA has reportedly returned some of its Harpy UAV back to Israel in 2004 to be upgraded with new seekers that enable visual identification and attack of target even after the enemy radar emitter is turned off. This would further enhance the PLA’s capabilities in UAV and anti-radiation warfare. The PLA may also uses the Harpy technology to improve the performance of its own designs.


Last update: 1 February 2009

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