Beijing, Nov.23 (China Defense Mashup Report by Johnathan Weng) — One PLA Retired General in his memoir book firstly exposed that China once got a nearly whole D-21 Drone in the early of 1971.
The memorialist is Gen. Ma Jiesan (马杰三), which was once the chief commander in PLA Air Force Yunnan Air Defense Center, told that D-21 reconnaissance drone was developped for the previous several shotdown by PLA SAM missile. He thinks that later D-21 has indeedly established the supreme advantage to PLA Air Defense ability. But the favourable turn took place on March 1971.
Gen. Ma Jiesan (马杰三)
PLA Soldiers celebrating one U.S. UAV Shotdown
In his book, the event is that when D-21B carrying its fourth flight in Chinese Yunnan Province, the malfunction in control system let D-21B suddenly lose height and miss above the forest. Because of the rain forest in south China, this D-21B almost landed without any damages. An the end of his article, he said that this D-21B was a great American gift for Red China and inspired many technological breakthroughs in China aviatic and aerospace areas.
The Lockheed D-21/D-21B was a Mach 3+ reconnaissance drone that began development in October 1962. It was intended to be launched off in air for extra-long or very dangerous missions. The D-21 was designed to carry its single high-resolution photographic camera over a pre-programmed location, then drop the camera module into the ocean, where it could be retrieved.
It totally had four operational missions took place under the name SENIOR BOWL, from November 9, 1969 to March 20, 1971, all over the People’s Republic of China to spy on the Lop Nor nuclear test site. Unfortunately all operations are failed. Americans usually believed that D-21B in the last flight on 20 March 1971 apparently had been shot down by Chinese Air Force.