Chinese Blue Fox: Drone or UAV?

During Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai, China, last week (Nov. 13-17), AVIC officials released a brochure and exhibited a small model of the Blue Fox drone.

AVIC Brochure: “The Blue Fox high-maneuver drone is, based upon the L-15 aircraft aerodynamics and contour, designed through adaptive modifications to the fuselage, air intake and vertical tail after contraction ratio so that it has superior aerodynamic characteristics. The drone is the high-performance targets for air combat weapon tests, air combat training in real arms, ground-to-air weapon tests and air defense training in real arms. It is capable of simulating the high maneuverability of third-generation fighters and above and RCS [radar cross-section] simulation. It is powered with two miniature turbo-jet engines, each providing maximum thrust 60dN.”

See photos for performance parameters. 

The L-15 was based on the Russian Yak-130, which had a UAV variant that did not progress to the production stage. Richard Fisher, senior fellow, Asian Military Affairs, International Assessment and Strategy Center, believes the Blue Fox might be more of an unmanned aerial vehicle than a simple target drone. “It may be developed for electronic or kinetic combat missions.” The PLAAF already has hundreds of retired J-6 and J-7 fighters to turn into target drones, he said.