Beijing: China has displayed its latest and biggest military unmanned aircraft at an industry expo in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in an attempt to attract more buyers for its combat drones, the media reported on Saturday.
The CH-5 combat/reconnaissance drone, developed by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, made its first flight in August, becoming the heaviest and strongest military drone in China, the People’s Daily reported.
It was displayed at the expo on Friday.
Considering the rule that China’s defence sector never publicly displays advanced weapons solely designed for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the public debut of CH-5 at the China (Shenzhen) International Unmanned Vehicle Systems Trade Fair has an unmistakable indication: China is eager to sell it.
“We have sold the CH-3 to several foreign nations and now we plan to launch the export version of the CH-5 to the international market. It can perform air-to-ground strike, reconnaissance and transport operations,” said Shi Wen, chief designer of the CH series at China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.
Shi did not disclose which countries have introduced the CH series, but earlier reports quoted Vasily Kashin, a senior analyst with the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, as saying Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq have deployed drones from the CH family.
Iraq is the newest buyer of the CH series drones as it released a video clip in mid-October showing the take-off of a CH-4B military drone at an airbase.
Designers said CH-5 is made of composite materials and has a wingspan of 20 metres. With a size twice as big as its previously developed counterparts, the drone can stay in the air for as long as about 40 hours and operate at an altitude of up to 10 km.
Compared with other military drones that usually have a maximum take-off weight of less than 1,500 kg, the CH-5 is much more powerful-it is able to fly with a weight of 3,000 kg and carry 900 kg of equipment and weapons.