Wreckage of D-21 drone shot down(?) by China in 1960s-70s

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http://www.fyjs.cn/bbs/attachments/Mon_0911/180_35_fa0442dc717115d.jpg
http://www.fyjs.cn/bbs/attachments/Mon_0911/180_35_0a860052edfb126.jpg
http://www.fyjs.cn/bbs/attachments/Mon_0911/180_35_800db0a45a9416e.jpg
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Original post
Profile picture for user J Boyle

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Not necessarily shot down...I think they were semi-expendable and had a demolition charge if 1960-era RPV control technology went wrong.

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Not necessarily shot down...I think they were semi-expendable and had a demolition charge if 1960-era RPV control technology went wrong.

I'd read that the drone itself was supposed to be expended after use, with just the camera being released for retrieval.

Edit: Just read some more on these D21's. Only 4 were properly used, one of which crashed largely intact in China after a spy mission, it was recovered by the Chinese and apparently handed to the Russians.

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It looks likely that this is the wreckage from the fourth flight over China in 1971.

The first D-21 flight over China in 1969 apparently ended up crashing in Russia.

http://www.spyflight.co.uk/d21.htm

The Russians examined the wreckage which led to a design study of a clone named Voron. Ben Rich (Skunk Works) reported that he was given a piece of the crashed D-21 during a visit to Russia.

http://www.sergib.agava.ru/russia/tupolev/voron/voron.htm

TJ

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Yes this was the fourth D-21. It soft landed in Yunnan province and is described as having important impact on Chinese aerospace engineering.

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I checked the Chinese and English Wiki, which (IMO surprisingly) have fewer details about the D-21 series than in the Jap Wiki,
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-21_%28%E8%88%AA%E7%A9%BA%E6%A9%9F%29#.E5.AE.9F.E6.88.A6.E9.81.8B.E7.94.A8
esp about Operation Senior Bowl, between 1969.11.09 to 1971.03.20, when four D-21Bs were (duh) operationally launched towards the Chicom nuclear experiment site at Lop Nur.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%AD%E3%83%97%E3%83%8E%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB#.E6.A0.B8.E5.AE.9F.E9.A8.93.E5.A0.B4

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I wouldn’t totally rule out that the dense air defense actually attribute to the final losing of the D-21 UAV #527:

The fourth and last operational flight attempt took place on March 20 using D-21 #527. This mission too would end in failure, when the drone was lost three-quarters of the way through the flight over a heavily defended area. This also turned out to be the last flight for the D-21 program. Out of the 21 D-21 missions flown, only four were modestly successful.

http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-2707015/Tagboard-Senior-Bowl-The-D.html

Now, The Chinese formally put the relic of the D-21 crashed in China on show in museum.

http://res.news.ifeng.com/attachments/2010/08/09/63efe9668028cbbe26e4d89e9fa365db.jpg

http://res.news.ifeng.com/attachments/2010/08/09/135a13341d919ebb52da71d423448462.jpg

http://res.news.ifeng.com/attachments/2010/08/09/c5f0fb9020fedb021425d1863e836593.jpg

http://res.news.ifeng.com/attachments/2010/08/09/47ed509cd245177b5ad6aad20399f950.jpg

http://res.news.ifeng.com/attachments/2010/08/09/0858193d64edfad06396581bd8635770.jpg

http://i37.tinypic.com/o0qfco.jpg

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2010-08/09/content_13988696.htm
to
http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2010-08/09/content_13988696_21.htm

Photos of D-21 wreck at Chicom aviation museum. 22 pages.
Article says from November 1969 to March 1971, four sorties flew into Red China, esp the test site at Lop Nur. Three sorties successfully took intel photos, but all recoveries failed.
The fourth and last sortie became MIA. The displayed D-21 wreck is the last sortie in 1971.
Made with titanium, each costs US$ 5.5 mil (1970 US$), same as an A-7 attacker.